Man hoping for kidney learns new wife really is perfect match

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 3:13 AM

DALLAS - Many men wouldn't admit it. But Jonathan Woodlief openly says he owes a lot to the women in his life.

"I'm a lucky man," Woodlief said with a laugh. "I'm really grateful."

As a child, lupus destroyed his kidneys.

At 18, Woodlief received a transplant from his mother. Last year, that kidney started failing.

Doctors told him antibodies from his mom's kidney, along with blood transfusions, made it nearly impossible to find a match this time.

"So my antibodies are about 99 percent, which means that I match to about one percent of the population," Woodlief said. "That was definitely... just heartbreaking to hear."

But Woodlief married anyway in October.

"Just honestly, in my heart, I knew he would've done the same for me," Caitlin Woodlief said. "And I was in love and I loved him. And that didn't change anything."

Jonathan's health declined.

And then came medical news as unlikely as a lightning strike.

"I said, 'I'm a match!'" Caitlin recalled. "And his face said, 'You're the match?' And I'm like, 'Yes!'"

"The doctor called it a miracle," Jonathan said. "We believe it's a miracle, and we're grateful for that."

About 10 percent of kidney transplants are re-transplants. Many people who need a second organ die waiting for one.

Instead, Caitlin and Jonathan Woodlief - married just eight months - will begin life again together Tuesday, when Caitlin gives her husband the gift of life.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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