Sister And Brother Are Reunited After 50 Years - Just In Time For Her To Give Him Her Kidney!

09/07/2014 11:54 | Updated 20 May 2015

A brother and sister who were separated 50 years ago have been reunited – just in time for one to save the other's life!

Lupe Villanueva and Frank Ybarra had crossed paths several times over the past 20 years but didn't realise they were siblings.

But a few months ago, what the brother and sister call 'divine intervention' stepped in and the pair were reunited.

And the timing couldn't have been more perfect – because it gave Lupe the chance to donate her kidney to her sick brother Frank.

The transplant surgery took place on June 24 and Frank is now in recovery.

The heartwarming saga was told to Fox News Latino in California.

Lupe, 54, and Frank, 53, grew up in the same neighbourhood in Oxnard, California, but never met as children because Lupe was adopted and raised by a different family.

She had spent 20 years searching for her biological parents, but without much success.

About three years into her quest, she got a first clue about her brother, but initially misinterpreted it.

One day at work, the woman and her colleagues were comparing their baby pictures when a friend remarked that Lupe bore strong resemblance to her husband.

Lupe became convinced that her co-worker's husband, Frank Ybarra, was her cousin.

It wasn't until 17 years later that she got an unexpected call from her half-sister revealing to her that Frank was actually her brother.

The shocking discovery was compounded by the fact that Frank was suffering from a life-threatening medical condition and was in need of a kidney transplant.

He had been on daily dialysis since 2012 when he experienced kidney failure due to diabetes.

With a B+ blood type not shared by anyone in his family, Frank's waiting time for a donor kidney was eight to 10 years.

But then came a fateful meeting with his newfound sister, who volunteered to give him one of her kidney.

At first, Frank was hesitant, telling Lupe: "It's not like you're passing a shoe on to me."

But the surgery was a success, and on June 27, Frank celebrated his 53rd birthday.

Frank said: "I don't know how else to put it except for a miracle. She's given me a second chance at life. You don't pass that up."

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