LEXINGTON, Va. – Twenty-three-year-old twins from Lexington are recovering, a week after the sister donated a kidney to her brother.
Preston McAllister was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, an auto-immune disease that attacks the kidneys, when he was just 8 years old. It didn't cause him many problems until August, when doctors said he was in stage 4 renal failure.
"I noticed I started getting more tired and it was getting more difficult to get through doing my regular things," Preston said.
When he came home after his first semester at college in Alaska, it was worse.
"He was just laying on the sofa and I just thought, ‘College kid. That's what they do after exams.’ But he never got back up," Preston's mom, Katie McAllister, said.
Doctors put Preston on the transplant list. He was forced to stay home where every morning and night, he administered his own dialysis and waited on a kidney.
"Average wait to get a deceased donor kidney is about six years," Preston said.
Family, friends and even strangers volunteered to get tested.
"I guess I must have considered it in the beginning around middle school age and because I’m his twin sister, I always assumed that I would be the best match," Preston’s twin sister, Meredith McAllister, said.
She was right. After 15 weeks of testing, Meredith was approved.
"It wasn't what any of us wanted to see for however many years it would take to find a donor on a list. So I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible," Meredith said.
"Initially it was, 'Oh wow, he's got a match.' And then it hit me that I would have two in surgery at the same time," Katie said.
That surgery happened at UVA just last Monday.
"I feel like I have a whole lot more energy," Preston said.
Preston and Meredith are both recovering well.
"I always said they had nothing in common other than a birthday, but now they really do," Katie said.
Although Preston will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life, he said it's worth it.
"I feel incredibly lucky. I'm surprised that I was able to luck out like this," Preston said.
"It’s something that we'll always share. I'll never have to give him a Christmas present again," Meredith said.