By Julia Deng
ODESSA - Michelle Ochoa went into kidney failure earlier this month after years of battling various medical issues related to high blood pressure.
It soon became apparent that her condition was life-threatening but doctors were unable to locate a kidney donor for Ochoa.
"I was getting sicker and sicker by the day," she told NewsWest 9. "Usually it's a five to six year wait."
Siblings are often a desired match for kidney transplants, according to DaVita Kidney Care. However, Ochoa's sister and four brothers were ruled out as donors due to their family history of diabetes.
Unknown to Ochoa, her daughter-in-law, Bailey Gonzales, had also gone to the doctor to determine her compatibility as a possible donor.
"It was something I immediately knew I had to do," said Gonzales. "I grew up watching many people in my family be affected by [kidney conditions] and I couldn't just sit here and watch my mother-in-law suffer."
Although their blood types and tissue were deemed compatible, the process required further testing.
"You could be a match but it doesn't necessarily mean that you can donate," she explained. "You cannot be overweight... have any sickness symptoms... drink [or] smoke. Any little red flag, they won't let you [donate]."
Gonzales passed every test and didn't hesitate to give up one of her kidneys.
She and her mother-in-law underwent transplant surgery on April 10 and were "up and about, walking around and leaving the house" a little over a week later.
"She gave me a second chance to live," said Ochoa.
She broke down in tears as she recalled the moment her son and daughter-in-law told her she was being given that second chance.
Nationwide, only a fraction of people facing similar medical conditions are that fortunate.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 96,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for a life-saving kidney transplant. Fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year. As they wait for donors to step up, 13 of those people die each day.
Anybody interested in being a living organ donor can find more information at https://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors.