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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Nineteen years ago in the delivery room, doctors knew something was wrong with one of the newborn identical twin girls.

But it wasn't until now when the girls from Chopin, Louisiana, needed doctors at Tulane to help.

One stepped up to show courage and love for her sister.

The Delrie family has a reason to share hugs and shed tears of joy after Tulane surgeons said all went well when one identical twin made a decision to save her sister's life.

'And I said, 'I want to give my kidney to my sister because I love her.' I'd do it for anybody, anyone of my family members,' said Daisy Delrie, 19, through tears.

When Daisy heard that her identical twin Sadie's kidneys had failed to the point of needing dialysis, she volunteered without being asked and without hesitation.

But doctors wanted her in better health for the surgery.

'He told me, you know, if I couldn't get my weight under control that I would be able to give my kidney to my sister. And oh, that made me really, really, really, upset. So I've been working hard ever since,' Daisy said.

With the help of Weight Watchers, in three months she lost 25 pounds. The surgery was performed with no complications on Jan. 29.

'After the surgery I still can't tell them apart. Thank God one of them is wearing a donor t-shirt, one of them a recipient t-shirt, otherwise I would not know which is my patient,' said Dr. Anil Paramesh, director of the living donor transplant program at Tulane.

It was Dr. Paramesh's first time to transplant a kidney from identical twins. Usually whatever caused one's kidneys to fail is genetic, so both twins have the same condition. But Sadie and Daisy are different. They don't have a genetic problem. It was in the womb, sharing one placenta, where Sadie's blood supply was not sufficient, so her kidneys never developed. And over the years her kidneys got weaker.

'She was developing features of renal failure, you know, tiredness, lethargy, inability to eat,' explained Dr. Paramesh.

He said half of one kidney in a healthy person is enough to do its job. Daisy has a healthy future ahead. Sadie now has three kidneys, her own failing ones and her sister's, which now sits just below her hip.

'I didn't want her to (donate) at the beginning, but as time went on, I just figured it was for the best,' said Sadie Delrie, 19, the recipient.

'I know both of them was scared. But they was some troopers,' said their father Curtis Delrie as his eyes welled up with tears.

While the twins were at Tulane in New Orleans having surgery, people back home were throwing a fundraiser to help with the medical bills.

'Thank you everybody for being there for us, the prayers and everything and just being there. Thank you so much,' said the twins' mother Susan Delrie, who could hardly talk through her tears.

For the twins' parents, today is bitter sweet. One of their four daughters saved another's life. But missing was Lauren, who just a semester away from her nursing degree was lost in a car wreck.

For Sadie, because her new kidney is genetically like her own, the good news is that she may be able to get off of the immunosuppressant drugs (anti-rejection drugs) that can have side effects. She's on them for a few months just in case, since the environment can alter even how identical genes work.

These 19-year-olds never thought they could get closer, but life proved them wrong.

Daisy spent only two nights in the hospital. Sadie, who got a new kidney, spent four nights.

Both will return to college at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

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