DENVER — It’s clear, even at first glance, that Steve and Brian Dea share a lot — if their same last name didn’t give away their blood relation, their similar mannerisms certainly would — but the two have shared even more since March of last year.
“I’ve had diabetes type 2 for about 20 years, which kind of takes everything out of whack a little bit, including your kidneys,” said father Steve Dea. “The doctor said I was within range of getting a transplant.”
Steve’s doctors at UCHealth prepared him for a long process. On average, patients wait three to five years for a transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Thankfully, though, Steve had a perfect and willing match very close to him.
“I didn’t know my blood type at the time, so that was step one,” laughed son Brian. “Turns out I was O negative — so the universal donor. “
After a series of extensive tests on his organs and general health, doctors determined it was safe for Brian to donate one of his kidneys to his father. Brian didn’t hesitate for a second.
“My parents gave me everything when I was growing up, and so donating a kidney was kind of the least I could do,” Brian said.
The Dea family also shares a love of sports — in particular, the Colorado Avalanche. After hearing about their story from UCHealth, the Avalanche wanted to give the Deas a very special gift.
In the video above, you can watch the heartwarming moment former Avalanche player Adam Foote and mascot Bernie crash our interview, and surprise Steve and Brian with tickets to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a living donor, you can visit the information portal on UCHealth's website.