It was a Mother’s Day to remember for this Kansas mom, who received a desperately needed kidney donation from her daughter.
Casey Flory, 36, donated her kidney to her mother, 60-year-old Debbie Harker, ahead of Mother’s Day.
“It didn’t surprise me. She’s got a big heart,” Harker said in an interview with The University of Kansas Health System, provided to InsideEdition.com.
Harker explained she has always felt overall healthy until six or seven years ago, when a doctor misdiagnosed her with diabetes.
About a year later, she was retested and diagnosed with celiac disease and stage 3 kidney disease instead.
“What I was thinking was they’ve got it wrong. Why don’t I feel terrible? They’re saying how sick I am — why aren’t I feeling that way?” Harker recalled. “They said kidney disease is a silent killer, and that you don’t notice big changes. It’s subtle changes.”
Her doctor suggested they continue monitoring the kidney disease until last November, when she was in stage 5 kidney disease and had to begin dialysis. In December, she was given a catheter.
“I was even told it might be my new normal with my celiac,” Harker said.
For Flory, that was unacceptable.
“It was hard just seeing her weak and not full of energy, not able to do certain things that were normal for her every day,” Flory said. “Going through the celiac, the struggle of finding something she could eat, not being informed of everything that would go hand-in-hand with celiac, so that was rough.”
Flory has a special bond with her mother, she said, and when the doctor told Harker she would need a kidney transplant, Flory was the first to volunteer.
“I honestly thought there was no other option. I volunteered right then and there,” Flory recalled. “She means everything to me. We talk every day. She knows everything about me. She knows everything that goes on.”
The pair went under the knife on April 23 under the care of Dr. Sean Kumer of University of Kansas Health System and are now recovering well from the surgery.
For now, the mother-daughter duo are looking forward to visiting garage sales and planning Halloween parties when they’re back on their feet. They may even plan a family cruise vacation next year, they said.
“I’m very grateful for you. I’m so proud of you,” Harker told her daughter. “This is going to be good.”