glance, Tyler Higgs, 13, and his sister, Jennifer, appear just like any
normal brother and sister. However, on
January 12, 2006
, at the
, Tyler and Jennifer took the relationship to a much higher level when one
of Jennifer’s kidneys was transplanted into
was born with kidney failure, but the problem wasn’t discovered until he
was six years of age. At that time his kidneys were functioning at only
32% capacity. It was then that doctors concluded a transplant would be
needed within several years. He was placed on medication in an attempt to
control the deterioration and it appeared to maintain his condition at a
was eight years old, Jennifer was tested to determine if she could qualify
as a donor for her brother. Not only did Jennifer qualify, but she was
told that the only times the medical staff had ever seen such a perfect
match before was in the case of identical twins. What is even more
remarkable is that
was born 17 years after Jennifer; on the same day; 18 minutes apart in
time; at the exact same weight and exactly the same length at birth.
Perhaps coincidence? Perhaps destiny?
Since being diagnosed with renal failure,
has been traveling to
for testing and monitoring every one to three months. When his kidney
functioning dropped to below 20% in December 2005, it was decided to go
ahead and set a date for the transplant. That date was January 12.
, “I was happy when they decided to do the operation. It was a relief to
know that we were finally going to do it.”
Jennifer shared the feeling, “It was like we were both going to
get our life back. For five years I was on pins and needles waiting for
the day the operation would take place. I knew that it could happen at any
time, so I really had to put my life on hold.”
There was never any hesitation on the part of Jennifer, herself a
mother with two children aged 12 and 4. When she found out that she was a
match, she simply decided that this was something she wanted to do.
As a result of the operation,
’s kidneys are now functioning at 67% of normal and that number is
steadily increasing. He feels much healthier and finds it easier to
concentrate at school. The operation has allowed him to focus on
in June and entering
in the Fall.
to get on with his life, it has also given Jennifer an opportunity to move
forward as a self-employed Customer Relations Specialist, working out of
the Valley East Today office at the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre.
Both Tyler and Jennifer
went into the operation with the same faith and confidence with which they
have always approached life. As they were being prepared for the
operation, the medical team couldn’t believe how calm and relaxed they
were. But Jennifer commented, “We had lived with the knowledge that this
moment was coming for the past five years. Our decision was made and now
it was in God’s hands. There was nothing for us to worry about.”
Tyler and Jennifer will
live the rest of their lives in the same way as any normal brother and
sister. But there is absolutely nothing normal about their relationship.