Dennis and Heather Haley

February 10, 2023

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Wife was a match to become husband’s living kidney donor

Since meeting on in 2005, Dennis and Heather Haley fell in love and got married. But after Heather became Dennis’ living kidney donor, they have a whole new perspective on the phrase, “you complete me.”

After the couple married in October 2006, the Whitehall couple’s commitment to “in sickness and in health” was challenged. That’s when Dennis’ kidney function progressively declined due to his diabetes, landing him on the national transplant waiting list. 

Even though Heather was a registered organ donor in Pennsylvania, living donation hadn’t occurred to her. But when it came down to dialysis or transplant, Heather knew this was something she wanted to do. Luckily, pre-transplant screening determined her to be a good kidney donor match for Dennis.

“Kidneys are the most needed organ for transplant in the United States — with about 90,000 patients on the waiting list nationally,” said Dr. Kalathil Sureshkumar, medical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at AHN. “Living kidney donation provides patients with an option that may expedite their access to a life-saving transplant.”

As part of the couple’s early retirement plan, they started a small business, Hot Diggity Doggs and Mobile Catering, for which they donated 100% of their tips in their first year to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education. Heather and Dennis enjoy sharing their story, and they encourage others to become organ donors.