Beaufort Marine donates kidney to save life

BEAUFORT (WTOC) - Although they both serve at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Sgt. Craig Santos never knew Cpl. Stephanie St. Laurent. Now these two Marine families have a bond that can't be broken.

"She's my angel," said Santos' wife, Angela. "I keep telling her she's my angel because without her, I couldn't have done anything."

Angela Santos was diagnosed with kidney disease about three years ago, when she was six weeks pregnant. She said it got worse and was waiting on the transplant list for nearly a year.

"It was scary. I was getting close to being on dialysis because I was getting weaker," said Angela Santos. "I was taking shots and getting iron pumped in me. I was at the lowest I think I could have gone."

Her husband was desperate and decided to take action.

"I went through Craiglist and Twitter, tried to put an advertisement out there because we had already tried everyone in our family. So, I put it on Beaufort Yard Sales, which is local and within 48 hours we had 6 people respond," said Craig Santos.

St. Laurent was one of them.

"I saw a big sign that said kidney needed and when I went on there and read it, I thought it was a little strange because I didn't know you could give up a kidney," said St. Laurent.

But after talking with Craig Santos, she wanted to help.

"I felt that if a Marine needed help, that's what we're trained to do is have each others back. I was definitely willing to give it a shot," said St. Laurent.

Luckily, she was a match.

"To me, it was definitely God's will, God's way because if it wasn't meant to be, I wouldn't have been a match," said St. Laurent.

On Aug. 24, both women had surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"I don't know many people that would put their life in danger. They tell you anything had happen and she did it without thinking twice," said Angela Santos.

But for St. Laurent, it was all part of her duty as a Marine.

"We signed up knowing there are lots of risks, you could lose a limb, not come back, so it wasn't anything new to me," said St. Laurent. "I didn't join the Corps to be afraid to do things, so what's the difference between doing this, is how I saw it."

A heroic move that gave the Angela Santos, a mother of three, a second chance at life.

It's been three weeks since the transplant and both women say they are doing well and recovering.

The Santos' are planning to hold 5K walks in the lowcountry to bring awareness to kidney disease and organ donation.

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