Friend gives friend kidney: 'She really blessed me in that moment'

Pair volunteer at Texas camp for kids dealing with kidney disease

By Concetta Callahan - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - If you're lucky you have one friend you know you can count on. But what if you were diagnosed with kidney disease? Would that friend risk their life to change yours?

Two friends are showing the true meaning of friendship.

Kevin and Samantha are old college friends. These days she's in med school -- but he's fighting kidney disease.

Today they're both volunteering at a kidney camp just outside of Dallas. Samantha's journey started two years ago when she found out she was a match to help Kevin.

"He just had a rough week that week. Just some things that prevented him from having a normal week and I thought, what kind of life is that to live if I might have the opportunity to prevent that?" Samantha Stewart, camp counselor and kidney donor said.

Kevin's been dealing with complications from his failing kidneys since he was in middle school.

"I went to go get my physical for football season. My blood work and urine levels weren't where they should be, so the doctor did more research and said, hey you have kidney disease. And, after that I've been in and out of children nephrology hospitals ever since," Kevin Guice, camp counselor and kidney recipient said.

The campers also are dealing with endless doctor visits when they're not here.

But for Kevin, his life changed when Samantha -- as they put it- - gave him the "gift of life."

Kevin went from being incredibly sick to getting a second chance at life.

"Interestingly enough probably a month before that I was in the ER and I came in throwing up blood and I told her about that and to go from that to 6 months later doing everything that I wanted to do in life and enjoying life and she gave me that gift. Words can never describe how I feel and how she really blessed me in that moment," Guice said.

Once Kevin got his new kidney his life completely changed. He was able to do things many take for granted, like go out of town and travel with friends.

Traveling was nearly impossible before, having to make sure clinics with the right machines would be available.

Thanks to Sam, he's been able to go all over the world visiting places like Dubai and Central and South America.

"In those moments I was thinking of Sam. How she gave me the gift to be able to do that and it's just so amazing the type of friend that I have," Guice said.

Just as she's made a lasting impact on him, Kevin has brought a new perspective to hers.

The med student is now considering a future in nephrology, as she surrounds herself this summer with children facing the same struggles Kevin once did.

"I'm a better person. I'm a healthier version of myself because I can share what I have with someone else and we have that bond for life," Steward said.

If you'd like to volunteer at kidney camp next summer click here.    

You can also learn more about kidney disease at the Texas Kidney Foundation.

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