A woman in suburban Chicago received a kidney transplant this month that turned out to be a near perfect match, and a life-saving one. But Rose Perry's good fortune is tempered by tragedy: The kidney came from her son, a 24-year-old who suffered a stroke out of the blue and collapsed in the family kitchen, reports the Chicago Tribune. Ronald Perry wouldn't recover, and his mother received the news while in the hospital being treated for her kidney failure and diabetes. With Ronald in a medically induced coma, doctors broached the idea of the transplant, but Perry—who had just begun the process of registering for the transplant waiting list—immediately said no.
“I cried my eyes out and said, ‘I don’t want his kidney and I want my child,'" the 50-year-old tells ABC News. Her husband and other son eventually convinced her to go through with the procedure, the winning argument being that Ronald—described as a "big, soft-hearted teddy bear"—would have wanted it. Perry had the operation on May 17, the day after her son died, and she attended his funeral a week later. Doctors say she instantly doubled her life expectancy. "It feels like I can go down, touch my stomach, and I can still feel him," she tells the Tribune. "I feel like he's with me and that makes a big difference in grieving." (Elsewhere, a woman met the man who received her brother's face in a transplant.)