A kidney transplant recipient and his volunteer organ donor were recently featured on WJLA TV news when their inspiring story gave many people a cause for celebration.

Kidney transplant recipient Agustin De La O Martinez, kidney donor Kat Velkoff, their mothers and members of the Inova Abdominal Transplant Center team at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Photo by Jay Korff/ABC7 News

The recipient, a 24 year old man named Agustin De La O Martinez, had been on dialysis for years due to a childhood disease. Inova transplant surgeon Dr. Johann Jonsson said Martinez’s kidneys “had failed completely,” adding that “It’s really, really rewarding to take care of somebody like this, especially a young person. You are really giving them their life back.”

The organ donor, 31-year-old special education teacher Kat Velkoff, was a stranger to Martinez who had recently volunteered to become a living kidney donor.

Dr. James Piper, also from the Inova transplant team, said, “Most of these donors are relatives or friends. . . Just imagine somebody like Catherine coming forward [and] saying I want to help someone I don’t even know. . . That’s above and beyond.”

After the successful operation, Martinez told WJLA “I just have so much gratitude for her. I’ve never met anyone who would do that for a complete stranger.”

Martinez and Velkoff were able to meet each other inside the hospital two days after their successful surgeries (both tested negative for COVID-19 and wore masks the whole time). Although they were not able to share a hug, they got to know a little bit about each other and share their plans to stay in touch.

The surgery was done at the Inova Abdominal Transplant Center, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus.

See the story on WJLA: https://wjla.com/news/local/thank-you-you-gave-me-a-second-chance-kidney-recipient-meets-the-donor-who-saved-him

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