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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A Greensboro man is living life to the fullest a year later after a life-saving surgery thanks to a Guilford County school principal.

December 15, 2020, was a day that John Brown Jr. and Carla Flores-Ballesteros will never forget. It was the day Brown received a kidney transplant from Flores-Ballesteros.

In August 2019, Brown Jr. was diagnosed with kidney failure. He spent 17 months on dialysis, and his name was put on the organ donation list.

Flores-Ballesteros said she went through all the steps to find out she was healthy enough to donate and was quickly approved as a match.

Flores-Ballesteros found out about Brown’s declined health from a phone call with a friend and former colleague, Patrice Brown. Flores-Ballesteros and Patrice previously worked together at Western Guilford Middle School.

A year later, after the successful surgery, Brown said his most noticeable change is his high energy levels. He also said he and his wife can now travel without worrying about his health. 

“To do so many things that I couldn’t do when I was on dialysis is wonderful. I mean something as simple as traveling I can do without so many hiccups,” Brown Jr. said.

Flores-Ballesteros and Brown Jr. said they are forever a family, and their bond is stronger than ever. On Wednesday, both families celebrated their “kidney-versay.”

“It was not only that I saved a life, I think we helped each other. I was given this opportunity to be a match for John and to give him that gift. But also I have gained so much with this experience as well,” Flores-Ballesteros said.

Flores-Ballesteros said the experience of helping to save a life is something she has no regrets about. She said if she was not a match for Brown’s transplant, her husband was willing to donate also.

“We’re all interconnected, and it just shows you do anything alone, and when I made this decision, I had so many people behind me,” Flores-Ballesteros said.

This past April, Flores-Ballesteros and Brown Jr. ran their first 5k together in the Greensboro Pig Pounder 5k. Both said they plan to run it next year to spread awareness about the importance of organ donations.

“Healthwise, I feel great. I feel like I got twenty years of my life back. That’s probably the best way to put it,” Brown Jr. said.