Valley woman who received kidney transplant from her twin sister will soon be in need of a second

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Back in 1999, these twins from the valley had twins perform lifesaving surgery on them. (KFSN)

Trendsetting twins from the Central Valley are back in the spotlight almost 20 years after the national spotlight shined on them. The video is starting to look old and grainy, but it was not so long ago that these two women got national attention.

Back in 1999, these twins from the valley had twins perform lifesaving surgery on them.

"One twin took the kidney out of my identical twin. He handed it to his identical twin, Dr. Robert Mendez, and he put the kidney in me and it flourished right away," explained Anna Cortez.

Anna Cortez flourished too.

She had suffered from kidney disease for several years by that point, and her sister's donation saved her from life on dialysis.

"It was always on the back of my mind without any question, or having to ask, my thought was 'when am I going to donate?'," said Petra Martinez.

More than 100,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Patients can wait eight to 10 years unless they have a direct donor like Anna did.

A family photo from 1999 celebrates the lives they could continue because of Petra's gift to her sister. It saved her for more than 17 years and now, she is getting another lifeline.

"I just don't want her to go through all that. She deserves more. She deserves better than that," said David Cortez.

Last year, Anna started to get sick again and is now on dialysis. But her husband, David, is donating his kidney to save her, even though his kidney is not a match for her.

The surgery is Tuesday, and it involved six patients -- three people getting kidneys and three donors.

"I have put all of this in God's hands and it's going to be as hard as I make it," said Anna.

And she is trying to make it as easy as possible for herself and for other people too.

That is why she is talking again, bringing attention to organ donation and especially the Paired Exchange Program on the National Kidney Registry. Since 2009, more than 2,300 people have essentially jumped up the list for a new kidney by getting a matching donation, like David's for his wife.

Related Topics:
healthkidney transplantFresno County
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