-- On a windy Valentine’s Day atop the Empire State building, like any other day, hundreds of people were waiting their turn to view New York City from the world famous observation deck.
Among the crowds braving the high winds on the iconic 86th floor were Alix and Brett Epps. The pair had a special reserved section as they anxiously renewed their wedding vows after just one year of marriage.
“I’d marry her every day of the week if I could,” said Brett after the couple kissed overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline.
Brett mentioned that he was lucky to renew his vows with Alix because he wasn’t sure if he would even make it to the altar his first go-around with her. In 2014, on their very first date, Brett began experiencing chest pains, but it wasn’t simply butterflies or first date jitters. His prolonged symptoms eventually led to a diagnosis of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare form of kidney disease.
Finding a donor can be a long and often difficult process. With more than 100,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, the average wait time can be more than three years, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Brett was making multiple trips to the hospital and spending several hours a night on dialysis. After several attempts to find a kidney donor among family, friends, and strangers, Alix volunteered to see if she would be a match for Brett. As it turned out, she was his perfect match.
Alix routinely visited Brett while he was in the hospital, and on one of those visits, Brett surprised her by asking her to marry him. A few weeks later, the newly engaged couple were both in surgery for the kidney transplant.
“She ended up being the perfect match for it,” Brett said with a grin. “It couldn’t have been a better match.”
Following their vow renewal, Alix said, “It’s this extra bond. I always felt so close.”
Among the more than 700 applicants, 10 other couples were randomly selected to marry or renew vows on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, a 24-year-old tradition.
“When you know love is there it’s there,” said Brett.
Alix added, interjecting, “There’s no question."