North Carolina woman gives kidney to stranger weeks after wedding

DURHAM, North Carolina -- A North Carolina woman gave up a kidney just weeks after getting married to save a stranger's life.

"I've never been the type of person who wants to, like, wait and see, just in case," Brittany Burton Marino said.

On most people's wedding day, the conversation is about the bride's dress, the toasts, and the honeymoon. On Marino's big day, people were talking about her kidney.

"It didn't surprise me that she was doing that because she's just such a caring and genuinely giving person," said Tia Valakuzhy, a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Marino, a student life instructor at the school, got tested when she found out a former student needed a kidney. She wasn't a match, but she decided she would give the organ away anyway.

"I don't think it's fair of me to wait just in case someone needs a kidney," she said.

A few days after her honeymoon, she took off to Baltimore for surgery.

That's where Paul Basken enters the picture. He has Polycystic Kidney Disease, a condition that was causing his kidneys to fail, and says Brittany's donation is giving him a better life - one that is dialysis free.

When the two reconnected over Skype, Paul had a question for Brittany.

"The question that certainly comes to my mind is, why anybody would do such a thing for somebody that they've never met before?" he asked.

"If this is just one thing that I can do that makes the world, or even one person's world, better - that was really important to me," she said.

While she says their shared appreciation for education sealed the deal for her to donate - the two have formed a new bond through this journey.

"We're connected now for life," Marino said.

"I try to say thank you to her 1,000 different ways, and I just can't figure out any more ways to do it," Basken said.
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