By Paul Burton, WBZ-TVBy Paul Burton

SHIRLEY (CBS) – When he’s not putting out fires for the town of Shirley, Al Deshler is busy trying to save lives as a full-time paramedic for the city of Leominster.

“I love to help people. That’s what I do and now I am being helped. I am not used to it,” Deshler said.

The 46 year old has been suffering from kidney disease and for the past five years he’s been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

“In order to sustain life I do dialysis five days a week,” Deshler said.

Last November he received a surprise text from a friend and emergency nurse Kerry Krasinskas who told him she is willing to donate her kidney.

“I found out I had the same blood type and what an amazing gift if I am able to do that for him,” Krasinskas said.

Deshler couldn’t believe it.

“Kerry’s kidney is (a) 100 percent match for me. It’s like hitting the lottery,” Deshler said.

Doctors at Mass General Hospital say more than 100,000 patients are currently on a kidney transplant list nationwide.

“The availability of deceased donor kidneys is inadequate and that’s why live donors can make an amazing difference in people’s (lives),” Medical Director of Kidney Transplant Dr. Elliot Herer said.

Deshler will undergo surgery here at MGH and he says this entire experience has changed his life forever and calls Kerry his guardian angel.

“I don’t think she realizes what she’s truly done. She’s basically saved my life,” Deshler said.

The surgery is scheduled for next Thursday at MGH.

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Paul Burton

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