EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two Rhode Islanders are now connected in an unparalleled way.
Earlier this year, Alex Peguero was desperate for a kidney. The East Providence man was in stage-four renal failure caused by genetic kidney disease.
Alex learned he had the disease when he attempted to donate one of his kidney’s to his twin brother, who was diagnosed with the disease a few years earlier.
While his brother was able to find a donor quickly, Alex spent more than a year on the transplant list.
As Alex’s health continued to decline, his brother’s fiancée turned her car into a moving billboard in hopes of accelerating their search for a donor.
“It would mean the world to me, I’ve been searching for a long time for a donor,” Alex previously told 12 News. “It always gives me hope, there’s always that good person out there that’s willing to donate, so that is always in the back of my mind.”
Those words resonated with Woonsocket resident Denise Gray, who first heard Alex’s story on 12 News Now This Morning.
Denise said before she even got up from her couch that morning, her mind was made up. She immediately called Rhode Island Hospital and made an appointment to be tested.
“I was praying to God to help me ease someone’s suffering, to make a difference,” she said. “When I saw the news piece that morning, I knew immediately that was the answer to my prayer. There was no doubt in my mind.”
Alex’s story hits close to home for Denise. Her children are not only twins, but they’re also the same age as the Pegueros.
In 2020, one of her twins was diagnosed with cancer.
“He needed a second lease on life,” she said. “He beat cancer.”
Denise wanted Alex to also have that second chance, which is why when she found out she was a match, she wasted no time.
The two underwent surgery in April, and after they both recovered, they were able to meet in person. Denise said Alex told her he’s now in great shape.
For Alex, Denise said donating her kidney was the ultimate gift, and for her, it was a blessing to be able to give it to him.
Denise said this is proof that doing something for someone else has everlasting benefits.
“I didn’t know him before but I really feel like he’s one of my sons now,” Denise said. “I just want to see him happy and live life to the fullest.”
Anyone interested in becoming a living donor is encouraged to contact the Rhode Island Hospital Kidney Donor Coordinator by calling (401) 444-3091.