HOUSTON - A Houston couple walked down the aisle Sunday to celebrate both a 20th wedding anniversary and their two-year paired kidney donation.
10 couples made plans to exchange vows during the Heritage Society's 2022 Valentine’s Express Wedding Extravaganza.
Ceremonies take place each year in the historic St. John Church in Sam Houston Park.
Although many couples share in the picturesque event, Kim and Sean Ballesteros take the cake as the perfect match for more than one reason.
They met more than twenty years ago, working at a local Central Market store where she was managing gift baskets, and he was managing the wine department.
"He was in love with me by date two, that's what he said," says Kim.
A year later they married, and the next year, they had their son.
On Sunday, they renewed their vows where Kim used to volunteer with the Heritage Society, two decades down the line.
"When you’re focusing on this person you love more than anything, of course, you’re going to tear up a little bit," says Sean of the emotional vows he shared at the altar.
In 2019, he was diagnosed with stage four renal disease and needed a kidney donor. Kim was a match.
"We’re just two random people who met, so it is kind of rare that I would be a match for him," she says.
Kim also matched a man whose daughter matched Sean but still needed his own donor.
"So I gave my kidney to him, and she gave her a kidney to Sean, so we were able to save another life in the process," she explains. Two years, and two days later, they added the paired donation to the festivities, calling it their "kidney-versary."
On top of those reasons to celebrate, it’s also Kim's birthday.
After hearing the couple’s story, Justice of the Peace Wanda Adams who volunteered to perform the ceremonies told Sean he’s got lots of shopping in his future.
"Go ahead and start saving up the money now because there are many gifts that are going to be given," laughed Adams during the ceremony.
Friends who witnessed the first wedding were also in attendance for the renewal.
"I was very pregnant. It was my last outing," says Monique Kursar. "The doctor allowed me to go to their wedding and only their wedding!"
"They really do care for one another, and it’s really spectacular to see," she added.
With this new occasion, the couple is hoping to inspire other living organ donors.
Sean will most likely need another transplant before the next twenty-year mark, but for now, the perfect match is heading to a quiet getaway with plans for a long, healthy, happily ever after.