GREENFIELD, Mo. -- A young couple from Dade County have a special but unusual bond. You could say Caleb Flannery gave his girlfriend, Brittany Carpenter, the gift of life. Both grew up in Greenfield. They've been together for about two years, and now they have a connection that they hope will last decades.
Carpenter, 25, feels great now, but she's been sick for a long time.
"About two and a half years ago, I got really sick, and I knew it was probably time to go on dialysis," she said.
Carpenter was born with only one kidney, and it was failing. After learning her own brother wasn't a match for a donor, Carpenter had to consider Flannery.
"I didn't want him to -- I didn't," she said.
"I talked her into letting me test," he said.
"I know it's hard on people -- that and you never know what can happen, I guess, in a relationship between two people," said Carpenter.
Without a transplant, though, Carpenter would only have another 10 to 20 years to live.
"Everything came out perfect. It was a perfect match," said Flannery. "That's like a one-in-a-billion shot," said Carpenter.
At the recommendation of her doctors, Flannery and Carpenter went forward with the transplant.
"It was actually a lot simpler than we thought it would be," Carpenter said.
They spent five days in a hospital in Kansas City, but the procedure didn't keep them down long, especially because they had a competition.
"I won that bet!" said Carpenter.
"Yes, she won that bet. We had a contest to see who was going to walk to the other's room first. I was asking my nurse that day, actually, when I would get to get up and walk, and he was telling me, 'Not quite yet; I want to wait a little bit.' And the next thing I know, she pops around the corner, walking into my room," said Flannery.
"I didn't ask. I just got up and walked!" Carpenter said.
A month later, both are recovering well.
"We're healing way faster than anybody expected. The doctors are actually surprised themselves," Carpenter said.
She's noticed some surprises too.
"It's kind of strange," say said.
The doctors said it was possible she could pick up some of Flannery's characteristics along with his kidney.
"I love onions, or used to; not so much anymore. He hates onions," she said.
The transplant is no doubt good for Carpenter's health.
"I can't even tell that I'm missing a kidney. It's wonderful," Flannery said.
"But I can definitely tell I got one!" Carpenter said.
Flannery's gift has also made their relationship stronger.
"I think so, yeah," they both responded.
"We're pretty mutual on that," he said.
"Maybe someone else had a hand in this a long time ago, definitely," Carpenter said.
"It was meant to be," said Flannery.
Carpenter says, now that she's feeling so much better, she looks forward to going back to school and work. She also looks forward to an unrestricted diet and being allowed to eat salty foods and drink pop.
As for any long term plans in their relationship, both say things are going well, but they're just taking things one day at a time.