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Hendersonville wife donates kidney to husband

By MARISSA SULEK

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    HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — A Hendersonville man thought days of dialysis were in his future when his kidney started to fail. That’s until his wife took it upon herself to lend more than a hand.

If anyone has the secret to a healthy marriage, Rayme and Wendy Phillips said it starts with young love. They married when they were both 19.

“I had to convince I was the one for her,” Rayme Phillips said. “But I knew she was the one for me.”

“Just keep working on it,” Wendy commented.

“And she’s selfless, and that makes a difference,” Rayme added.

It’s a difference Wendy continues to make 40 years later.

“I guess I gave you a rib, and you gave me a kidney,” Rayme joked.

Rayme has struggled with hypertension most of his life.

“Found out I had one kidney,” he said. “Found that out about five years ago.”

Rayme said his kidney started to worsen through the years due to hypertension. He said it reached a point this year where his doctor advised him to get on the transplant list.”

The transplant list narrowed down to one person: Wendy.

“Wendy test and she was a match, and the doctors liked Wendy,” Rayme explained.

“I was like, ‘Let’s go! We’re ready!'” Wendy recalled.

In January, the couple was in surgery at Ascension St Thomas. Dr. Derek Moore was the general surgeon by their side through it all. He said husband and wife transplants are common, but they benefit more than the recipient.

“You can tell they care a lot about each other,” Dr. Moore said about Rayme and Wendy. “But it does something for the donor too, that they can give this gift and help their husband and wife live a longer, healthier life.”

“It was a big sacrifice for her, in my opinion,” Rayme said.

While both Rayme and Wendy recover at home, they know this love is permanent. To consider becoming a kidney donor, go to Ascension St. Thomas’ website.

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