Lucky: Gift of his life comes from ex-wife

Charlie and Denaa Rudd
Charlie and Denaa Rudd

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Rachel Beavin

A Madisonville, KY man who needed a kidney transplant turned to an unlikely source for a donor, his ex-wife.

Charlie and Denaa Rudd say they are better friends than they ever were husband and wife. Recently, the bonds of friendship were tested.

Charlie and Denaa Rudd's love story started off the conventional way. Man finds woman; man divorces woman. Denaa says, "We spent a lot of years without talking." six to be exact.

And by the time the two reconnected, Charlie says he was having some very serious health problems, "I really thought I was going to die on dialysis."

Charlie needed a kidney. So Denaa says she offered hers, "When we were married I always told him I'd donate him a kidney. Of course, four, five six years and two months ago, I would have said no."

Charlie says he was taken back by her kindness, "I was absolutely shocked. That's a big step for someone to do that. She's a very loving and caring person."

Denaa says, "All my family tells me I have more heart than common sense."

So with that big heart, and matching kidney, the ex-spouses set off to a Nashville hospital on April 26th where doctors performed a successful organ transplant operation.

Charlie says there is no way to repay her kindness, "I don't know what I can do to show my gratitude. There's not enough thank yous out there. There's not a gift that I could buy for her. She already gave me the greatest gift of all and that's the gift of life."

Denaa says just because gave her ex the ultimate gift doesn't mean they're getting back together, "Everybody says that and the answer is no, no!." The two are happy just being friends. So in the end, man may have lost woman, but Charlie says he gained something far more important, "We got a bond now that will never be broken. Never."