CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau man gave his mother a gift of a life-time. He said a kidney was a small price to pay for the woman who gave him life.
"I'm a mamma's boy, is the best way to say it. I love my mom and I would do it over again if I could," Gray said.
Cindy Groves had been waiting for a kidney for years. That is, until her son insisted on making her wait no longer.
Gray said he was simply returning the favor when he decided to give up a kidney to make sure his mom lives happy and healthy.
"It takes a long time to find a match, it has to be perfect," Groves said.
It was the match only the bond between mother and son could reach.
"That's the first thing they told me, man, you must have had an excellent kidney that you gave your mother because right when they hooked it up, it started working," Gray said.
For Groves, years of suffering from kidney disease had changed in an instant and the threat of a life filled with treatments and procedures now gone.
"I've seen it. I've worked in hospitals and everything like that and I've seen what hemodialysis can do to people and I'm like, yeah, I think it's time for me to get tested," Gray said.
At first, Cindy simply wouldn't allow it.
"Nope, not going to put either one of my kids through it. I was so hesitant. As a mom, it's the last thing you want to do. You want to protect them," Groves said.
However, after research, talks with surgeons, and lots of persistence from Caleb, she agreed to let Caleb give her a kidney.
"Anyone that knows Caleb, when he makes a decision to do something, he's not going to leave you alone till he does it," Groves said.
Stationed in North Carolina with the U.S. Navy, Caleb got tested, found out he was a match, and then came home to mamma to give a gift, at the age of 25, that only he can give.
"I knew he was healthy and I knew he was in good shape," Groves said.
Cindy said she feels stronger and healthier. It's almost like part of her is 25 again.
"I didn't realize how bad I felt for so long," Groves said. "To know that he's responsible for giving my life back to me, it's amazing."
Gray will be on limited duty until he gets out of the Navy in February.
He plans to attend Southeast Missouri University next fall, pursuing a career in nursing.
Gray's donation was completely funded by the American Kidney Fund, it cost him and his family absolutely nothing.