A mother lost 20 pounds to be able to donate one of her kidneys to her daughter, a pediatrician who was suffering from a rare disease, Loma Linda University Medical Center officials said.

Brittany Chow, 33, would have had to wait up to 12 years for an available organ if her mother, Elizabeth Chow, hadn’t stepped in.

Brittany, who is a chief pediatric resident at the Loma Linda hospital, often neglected her own checkups, but she realized she had high blood pressure and was feeling tired.

She had attributed her lethargy to her job, stress levels and her weight. But one day, when she was feeling extremely tired, she was finding it difficult to catch her breath after walking up stairs.

She soon went to urgent care and discovered that her blood pressure was way above average.

At the emergency room, doctors began running tests and she soon got some “shocking results.”

  • Brittany and Elizabeth Chow are seen in two photos provided by Loma Linda University Health.
  • Elizabeth and baby Brittany are seen in a photo provided by  Loma Linda University Health.
  • Brittany and Elizabeth Chow are seen after their surgery on March 28, 2023 in a photo provided by Loma Linda University Health.
  • The Chow family is seen in an undated photo provided by Linda University Health.
  • Brittany and Elizabeth embrace during an interview on May 12, 2023. (KTLA)

A biopsy showed extreme scarring and doctors concluded that Brittany was living with 10% kidney function. She was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disease where antibodies build up in the kidneys, causing inflammation and hindering the ability to filter waste, hospital officials detailed. It’s most common in white and Asian people in their 30s, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Brittany was told that the only treatment option for the end-stage of the disease was a transplant.

After her diagnosis, Brittany’s parents and brother offered to donate, but only her mom was eligible.

“The last six months have been quite a journey with major life changes,” Elizabeth said. “I decided to be a donor. I never gave it a second thought, never had a doubt.”

But it wasn’t that easy, Elizabeth added.

Although her early tests indicated she may not be an eligible candidate for donation, she was determined to save her daughter’s life.

In order to be ready for surgery, Elizabeth lost 20 pounds, while Brittany lost 55 pounds. When they got the OK for the donation and surgery, Brittany said it felt “too surreal.”

The surgery was even moved up a month because of Brittany’s concerning lab results and the fact that she was on dialysis.

That meant the mother and daughter duo had less time to mentally prepare, and the family was on edge.

Then the day of the surgery on March 28, both women woke up feeling sore. Brittany, however, woke up with a piece of her mother.

Together, only rooms apart at the hospital, the two healed and eventually went home to start their long-term recovery.

Now, they are walking, completing tasks independently and rebuilding their stamina.

And if all goes according to plan, Brittany will be back at work this summer.

“What started out as giving my daughter a second chance at life had the unexpected reward of finding peace within myself,” Elizabeth said. “I didn’t lose a kidney, for it dwells in just another more important part of me.”

“I don’t know how I can ever thank Mom, there’s just no words for that,” Brittany said, hugging Elizabeth and wishing her a happy Mother’s Day.