ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Natalie Caviness almost feels back to normal.
“Being able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, to get ready in the morning without being exhausted,” Caviness said.
Those simple things were hard for her to do about a year ago.
“I started having a lot of swelling in my feet and legs,” said the 26-year-old. “I started having a lot of swelling in my hands.”
She went to the doctor and, days later, got the scariest phone call of her life.
“I was in complete kidney failure and needed to get to the hospital immediately,” she said.
Last December, she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
“I was honestly just in a state of shock,” she said.
She was told she'd be on dialysis for the rest of her life if she didn't find a donor, which doctors told her could take three to seven years.
“Is this gonna be the next five years of my life?” she said. “Just waiting and hoping and praying for something to come along.”
Her parents tried but weren't a good match.
"How do I ask someone to donate a kidney?" Caviness said.
Luckily, she didn't have to ask or look very far for a donor.
"This was just an opportunity that God gave me," said Steve Morgan, her boyfriend’s father.
Morgan volunteered. Turns out, he was the perfect blood match.
"I took a leap of faith and beat odds and was able to give," he said.
They did the transplant in August.
“He really, truly saved my life,” Caviness said.
Months later, Morgan still checks in to make sure she's OK.
"I'm texting her, calling her,” he said. “‘Please let me know how your doctor's visit went.’"
As they get ready for Christmas, they say this year it has a whole new meaning.
"That's the biggest gift is her health," Morgan said.
"It's not been a setback, it's been a step forward," Caviness said.