Mike Phillips is on a mission to get a very special gift for his wife this Christmas. The 69-year-old Bucks county man recently launched a website and took to the streets donning an "All I Want for Christmas is a Kidney for Sheila" t-shirt with hopes of finding a live kidney donor for his wife.
Mike and Sheila, a married couple of 46 years, both suffer from chronic renal failure, but Mike's case is much worse than his wife's. Mike has already had both of his kidneys and his prostate removed after a bout with cancer. He is now on dialysis, a draining treatment that he hopes his wife will never have to endure.
"I've been on dialysis for four years now. It's not pleasant. It really takes a toll on you," he said. "I don't want Sheila to go through what I've gone through."
Sheila said she is amazed by her husband's selfless generosity.
"I'm just awed by the fact that my husband is going through what he's going through and he still put me before himself," she said.
In addition to having gotten more than 5,000 visits to the website, ChristmasKidney.com, Mike says he's already heard from at least eight people who expressed interest in being tested to donate a kidney to his wife. He's optimistic that a match will be found before Christmas so that Sheila could have her new kidney in early 2015.
The couple is working with community organizations to help cover the costs of transportation, lodging and food for a willing donor.
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As for Mike, over the past month he's received several calls regarding possible compatible matches for his own kidney. None have been approved for operation. Still, he says, his wife comes first.
"If she gets a kidney before me, I have no problem with that. We've been partners for a long time. Looking out for one another, that's just what we do."