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valentines day 2013

James Jones will receive a kidney from his wife, Melissa Degesso-Jones, days before Valentine’s Day.

While most women will sit in anticipation of what their husbands and boyfriends will get them for Valentine’s Day, one woman in Lake Mary, Fla., will give her husband a gift that cannot be found on any retail store shelf or “Best Valentine’s Day Gifts” web post: her kidney.

News 13 in Orlando reports that Melissa Degesso-Jones‘ husband, James Jones, has been suffering from renal failure for a while. When he was told that he needed a kidney transplant, his wife immediately volunteered to see if she was a match.


“There wasn’t any reservation, or never did I ever fathom the idea I wouldn’t be,” said Melissa. “That’s the funny part. I never thought, ‘Oh, what if I don’t match?’ I just assumed I would.”

Her assumption was right. She was a match.

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So this Monday, just days before Valentine’s Day, Melissa will have her kidney transplanted to James. The couple met on Valentine’s Day, just two years earlier.

Even the doctor performing the operation is touched by the sacrifice and symbolism behind Melissa’s kind act.

“Melissa is making the rest of us look bad,” said Dr. Giridhar Vedula, a multi-organ transplant surgeon at Florida Hospital. “Most of us buy an expensive box of candy and call it a day, but this girl is just something phenomenal.”

James has been trying to find a Valentine’s Day gift that can come remotely close to the one Melissa will give him on Monday. So far, no luck.

“It’s one of those things where I’ll continue to reciprocate this for the rest of my life, because you’ll never be able to give her anything that’s going to be able to match life,” said James.

As for Melissa, she says her “gift” to James is something they both will share.

“Giving as much love as I have,” she said. “It’s completely from my heart. James has said things to me about it being a huge sacrifice, and I said, ‘It’s not; it’s an investment. This is our life. It’s not just your life that I’m giving, too. There can’t be an “us” without it.’ So, that’s what it’s about.”

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