You’re lying in a hospital bed, weak and confused. As you struggle for resilience, you open your bleary eyes, searching for a lifeline.
Whose face do you see? Maybe it’s a best friend who has navigated you through your most troubled times. Or a family member bound by blood and unconditional commitment. Or perhaps it’s a lover who would rather perish than see you suffer one more moment.
In the case of Reid Alexander, it’s all of the above.
Reid was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, an affliction that damages the collagen in sensitive parts of the body, including the ears. “I wear hearing aids now and everything,” Reid tells The Denver Channel. “I feel like I’m an 85-year-old person in a 24-year-old body. But that’s just my normal.”
And his normal became nightmarish recently when Reid’s kidney functions plummeted to 20%. He was placed on a transplant waiting list. “It’s very stressful, because it’s really just a waiting game,” he explains.
To distract himself from his dour reality, Reid did what any red-blooded gay man would do: cruise the apps. That’s where he met his Prince Charming, aka Rafael Díaz.
“We matched in every sense,” chuckles Rafael in a prophetic tone.
They instantly became inseparable, laughing and loving their way to the altar within a year of meeting one another online.
But it pained Rafael to see Reid enduring endless hours of dialysis and uncertainty, so he applied to donate his own kidney to his new husband.
The gay gods smiled upon them; Rafael was an ideal donor candidate for Reid.
#FeelGoodFriday: The perfect match! Reid Alexander swiped right on Tinder his now husband Rafael Dìaz which led him to finding the perfect match in both life and as a kidney donor. #ShareYourSpare #HeartYourKidneys #LivingDonation https://t.co/ZyYKJcUDhD
— National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana (@NKFLA) September 24, 2021
While insurance will cover the bulk of the transplant procedure, GoFundMe is amassing the necessary funds to ease Reid and Rafael’s myriad residual costs. As they anticipate their surgery date, the couple expresses nerves but zero regret.
“I decided to do it because I love him,” Rafael declares. “I think that this is amazing — this shared life. It’s amazing to do this — give someone else the opportunity to live.”
Rafael becomes emotional yet undeterred. “I love this man. And I really want him to have a long life with me.”
Congratulations, Reid and Rafael, and good luck with your procedure. As you awake from the haze of sedation, you can be assured that the eyes staring back at you provide a beacon of strength, support, and so much love.
Photo: Natalia Burrows Photography
Last modified: September 28, 2021