Tonja and Perry Paylor

Maryland Woman's Kidney Donation to Her Husband Leads to Her Lifesaving Diagnosis

Tumor discovered in process of donating kidney

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What to Know

  • Perry Paylor received three kidneys that failed before his wife learned she was a match
  • In the process of donating her kidney, Tonja Paylor learned she had a tumor
  • The tumor was removed, and her kidney was transplanted on their anniversary

A Maryland woman donated a kidney to her husband, and it may have saved her life, too.

Tonja and Perry Paylor of Silver Spring met at Hampton University and have been married for seven years.

“Once we had that first conversation, we just never stopped talking from there,” Tonja said.

“She is a very loving person and she’s actually the nicest person I ever met,” Perry said.

Perry was diagnosed with kidney failure at 23. He received three new kidneys, but each failed.

Tonja got tested and was a match.  

“My wife and I had a brief conversation,” Perry said. “I think she had already made her mind up about what she was going to do. She actually didn’t really discuss it with me.”

In the process, doctors at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital discovered something else.

“We found this little tumor on her kidney,” said Dr. Jennifer Verbesey, director of the living donor program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

Tonja never would have gotten screened for the tumor if not for Perry.

“In my attempt to save him, he actually was, you know, improving my health,” she said.

Fortunately, the tumor was benign. Doctors removed it and still give Perry the kidney on their anniversary.  

A month after the surgeries, both are recovering.  

“I don’t take that for granted that my wife has made that sacrifice to give me a lifesaving organ,” Perry said.

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