Chris Ewing and wife Missy, of Cameron Park, have each made a life changing decision in the last several years.

Another married couple the Ewing’s have known since high school, each donated a kidney, and gave Chris the idea.

“And it was funny to because he came home and said ‘I’m gonna give a kidney’ and I went what,” said Missy.

Chris began researching what it takes to donate a kidney a few years ago. He learned about the paired exchange transplant program at the University of California Davis Hospital in Sacramento.

About 1,200 people are on the transplant list at UC Davis Hospital but only about 300 will receive a kidney per year.

A paired exchange usually happens when a donor wants to give a kidney to a friend or family member but can’t because they’re not a match. The donor then agrees to give a kidney to someone else and the unmatched donor does the same.

“What I found out was it was kind of an epidemic,” said Chris Ewing. “There was such a long waiting list of people who are literally dying.”

Chris donated his kidney to a complete stranger in 2014. He later met the father of two he gave his kidney to, Darrell Ellis, and they keep in contact to this day.

Missy Ewing decided to donate her kidney as well in June of 2017. She gave hers to a father of five, Rolando Bercasio.

All four have made a full recovery. The husband and wife are Catholic converts and believe people should give when possible.

“We both believe that if you have two of something and you can part with one of them, then you should do that,” said Missy Ewing.

They say they’re sharing their story in hopes that others will consider doing the same.