Rick and Dayne Boutwell have a close relationship. And it’s not just because they are father and son and spend a lot of time together fishing and sailing off the Gulf Coast. On March 10, Dayne donated one of his kidneys to his father, ultimately saving his life.

“It was a no-brainer — I was 100 percent going to give my kidney to my dad,” said 36-year-old Dayne.

Rick still has a tough time telling the story without tearing up. He received a kidney from his sister 16 years ago when he was 50, but found out that it was failing and he would need another transplant.

Dayne, who lives in League City and visits his father in Port Bolivar frequently, immediately called the living donor coordinator at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

“The only concern I had was just being a match,” said Dayne. “If the first blood test comes back that we are incompatible, it’s like all our good intentions mean nothing.”

That was back in September 2014. Test results came back: he was a match. Then came six months of testing for both father and son to make sure they were healthy and ready to move forward with the transplant.

There were a few bumps along the road, including Rick needing open-heart surgery before being cleared for transplant, but everything came together by the morning of March 10. It was a team effort by the UTMB Transplant Center’s Dr. Kristene Gugliuzza, who performed Ricky’s transplant 16 years ago, Dr. Guillermo Gomez and a team of nurses.

Organ transplantation has a long history at UTMB. The first kidney transplantation program in the Houston/Galveston area was established at UTMB in 1967. From September 2009 to August 2014, the Texas Transplant Center at UTMB completed 286 transplants, including 17 living donor transplants.

In the United States, there are currently more than 90,000 people listed for a kidney transplant. However, the number of patients waiting for a kidney far outweighs the number of deceased donors. Because of this shortage, there is an increased reliance on living donations. A person can live and function normally with only one kidney, and recipients who receive a living donor organ typically have better clinical outcomes.

Everyone knew that Rick’s transplant was a success when his new kidney started producing urine. He joked that his wife Myra got so excited when the urine bag started filling up that she called his urine “liquid gold.”

More than a month after the transplant, Rick said that he felt good. “I’ve been blessed with two stand-up sons and I’m just happy to be here.”

The family is now looking forward to taking a vacation to the Bahamas and visiting the naval base where Rick was stationed in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

“Going back there is going to be the last little victory dance,” said Dayne.