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Sister saves brother's life with kidney donation

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ)--This Valentine’s Day, while some gave cards and chocolate to their loved ones, one brother and sister exchanged the gift of a lifetime.

For one brother and sister - they exchanged the gift of a lifetime.

Jake and Kaylen Knutson have always been close, but now they share a bond like none other.

It started as a freak accident in June.

"I coached little league baseball, and a kid that I coached had hit me in the face with his backswing,” said Jake.

It's a swing that would save 18 year old Jake Knutson's life.

"I broke my jaw in two places,” said Jake.

But the diagnosis became life threatening--his blood pressure was high.

"It turned out that I only had 9 percent kidney function, so ironically, that kid hitting me in the jaw actually saved my life,” said Jake.

However, Jake would need another hero--someone to donate a kidney. He didn’t have to wait long, or look far.

Someone to donate a kidney. He didn't have to wait long and look far.

"I was just blown away, because I would do the same for her,” said Jake.

His sister Kaylen.

"I found out that I was his blood type match and it was very exciting and it kind of just has fallen into place ever since then,” said Kaylen Knutson.

Earlier this month Jake and Kaylen underwent the life saving transplant at the Mayo Clinic. Kaylen is back home recovering in Grand Forks--but her brother is still recovering down in Rochester.

“My sister had actually walked from her room to come see me, and the minute I saw her, I kind of just broke down inside, because we knew that it all worked out the way it should have, and it was just really great,” said Jake.

“Such a big relief I prayed hard and long for it, he and i have always been so close I was so excited,” said Kaylen.

Jake says he's on track to make a full recovery--and when he’s back on his feet, he plans to raise awareness about organ donation.

February 14 won’t always be about spreading love for Valentine’s Day--but to those in need. February 14 is also National Donor Day.

“It kind of puts you in perspective on kind of how lucky you can be, and it makes you realize how many people are all out there that really are in need of a kidney, or whatever that they need, so, I'm reaching out to everyone that just the smallest donation can really help save lives, and just, there's so many people out there that are in need,” said Jake.

Jake says he wants to play college baseball next year.

If you’d like to learn more about organ donation, click here.