SHIRLEY, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A Shirley fire lieutenant and paramedic is used to saving other people's lives, but he's been doing so while quietly struggling with a debilitating and life threatening disease of his own.
Now, though, after more than a decade of suffering a generous woman is stepping up and giving him the donation of a lifetime. The members of the Ayer-Shirley Middle School girl's basketball team wore green socks and ribbons Saturday night in honor of one of their player's fathers.
Al Deshler has been struggling with kidney failure for 15 years and it's taken a toll on both Al and 14-year-old Jill.
"It does, it does," he said. "Not just physically, but mentally, cause you can't do as much as you want to do as a normal, as a normal person would. So I haven't gone on vacation. I haven't been on vacation for 5 years because I refuse to take a machine with me."
Al's been on a transplant list for 5 years, but so far hasn't been able to find a suitable match.
"I had that phone on me like my 14-year-old daughter carries her phone, can't live without it," he said. "Every time it would ring you would just hope it was that call."
Eventually Al did get that call, but it wasn't from a hospital. The call came from a woman Al has known for years.
"Probably like the end of the summer, beginning of the fall, was the first time I had seen him in a while and he was just kinda looking exhausted and telling us what he had been through," Kerry said. "And I made the decision."
So she took some tests and turns out she's a perfect match for Al. They might as well be brother and sister given their compatibility.
Al says "there's no words to describe" how much this means to him.
So Al and Kerry are going to Mass General this upcoming Thursday to have the surgery. It will take roughly 6 hours, and then after that it will be at least 4 weeks of recovery for Kerry, and months of recovery for Al.
But both say, it will be more than worth it. Especially when Al is able to live a normal life, and do more active things with his 14-year-old daughter.
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