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A man in Bountiful got an early Valentine's Day gift when we surprised him at his front door with a High 5.
Jim Kauerz told us he had a feeling something was up at his house, but he never expected us. "They called me home from work early and said my daughter wanted to talk to me. I thought, she needs money again," Jim said.
His wife, Darleen, and daughter, Danielle, nominated him for a High 5. Their e-mail sharing stories of his selflessness, particularly how he put family first to save a life, got our attention.
Darlene said, "We're real proud of him. We wanted to tell him how much we loved him for Valentine's."
Back in December, Jim underwent surgery to remove one of his kidneys and give it to his brother, who needed a healthy one.
"I don't know why anyone wouldn't do it," Jim said. "I mean, for a brother or a sibling or another family member, particularly. There are people out there who donate to total strangers."
Danielle said, "He's just willing to give anyone anything, so he really talks a lot about family."
And, it's his family he turned to when he needed to decide whether to donate.
Darlene said, "We said, ‘OK, go for it.' He had to lose 25 pounds and I thought, Oh, I'll say yes because I don't know if he can do it. But he lost 35 pounds and he just worked himself crazy."
Jim explained, "It is a life-changing event, and I'm much more emotional now. I've always been accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve, but probably more so now."
At first, Jim's kidney didn't take well to his brother's body. But Darlene says that changed after giving his kidney a pep talk. "The next morning our phone rang at 7:30 in the morning and it was his brother just bawling. He said, ‘All my numbers are good; the kidney is working,'" Darlene said.
Two lives changed forever. "This is just so Jim, that he gives and gives and doesn't take anything in return," his family said.
Two months after the surgery, Jim and his brother are both doing well. As an added bonus for Jim, our friends at Cookies by Design in Holladay prepared a University of Utah gift basket for him.
If you'd like to nominate someone for a High 5, follow the link on this page.