PALM DESERT, Calif. - A miracle connection was made inside the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Palm Desert Office. It started several years ago, but its significance and importance only recently came to light.
Angelina Castleberry, a former deputy in Palm Desert, became pregnant with twins in 2014. One of the babies was diagnosed with posterior urethral valves, a congenital condition that causes irreversible damage to the bladder and kidneys.
"Since before he was born, they (the doctors) didn't think he was going to survive," she said.
Against all odds, her son Matthew did survive, and pulled through 14 surgeries, dialysis and three failed donor matches.
Then, one day, the phone rang.
"I called her and asked her if she was sitting down," said Deputy Alicia Lopez.
Lopez was a former colleague who happened to be a cross match.
"When we found out (sic) it was Alicia, it was, like, 'Oh my God. We've been praying for you,'" said Castleberry.
"I didn't realize how rare this was until she explained it to me over the phone and I just stood there with my mouth open for a minute," Lopez said.
Lopez has been going through the tough process leading up to the transplant for the past four months. The surgery will put her out of work for 6 to 8 weeks.
"When you see his face, it's kind of hard to say no," Lopez said of baby Matthew.
The Castleberry family said it hopes Lopez's sacrifice will provide a new normal for them.
"I want to submerge him in his first bath. He's always had sponge baths because of everything," said Castleberry.
The transplant is expected to take place later this month.
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