PORTLAND, Maine — You only need to spend a little time with the Fundis family to see just how close they are.

It's evident that love and laughter fill their Lewiston home and that Lisa Fundis is at the heart of it. 

But in 2013, Lisa was dealt a bad hand.   

"The doctor said, 'You're going to need a kidney transplant.' What? I thought we were going to talk about my blood pressure," Lisa said.

Lisa was diagnosed with kidney disease, which rapidly progressed to kidney failure. She started dialysis, three times a week for more than three years.

"You have to go to these treatments because if you don't, you die. That's the alternative," Lisa said.

Lisa was on the organ donation list waiting for a kidney. Her husband George eagerly wanting to donate one of his to her, but unfortunately, he wasn't a match.

Lisa's daughter Lily was in California at the time, enlisted in the Marines. 

"It was scary. Very scary," Lily said.

Lily, who says her mom is her best friend, felt helpless until she came home. "I sent in my info to see if I can be a donor," said Lily. "Tears were flowing."

Lily was a match.

Lisa said Lily had told her, "'I'm a match. We got this.'" Lily responded, "I told you, I have your kidney and your back."

In January of 2018, Lisa got Lily's kidney.

A year later, George was at the Maine Transplant Center in Portland for a checkup because just three weeks ago, he donated a kidney, as well. 

"It's amazing to know I was able to give," George said.

Even though he couldn't give to Lisa, who George calls his sweetie, he helped a stranger who was in the same grueling situation his wife was in.

"Now hopefully the person who got my kidney is doing well also," George said.

Apart from helping someone live a longer, better life, George's donation served another purpose. 

Lisa gets a sort of credit -- that, if her new kidney ever fails, she has a better chance of getting another one.

Dr. Juan Palma is a transplant surgeon at Maine Medical Center.  

"We don't have enough kidneys. There are five- to six-thousand people who won't make it at the end of the year. Basically, they will die waiting for a kidney."

Dr. Palma has great admiration for those who make the choice to donate.

"I think they represent the best of humankind," Palma said.

The Fundis family also offered a "first" in Palma's career. 

"Two in one family, my first ever. Fascinating."

The surgery is tougher on the donors than the recipient. But George and Lily are both doing well. And, like any mother, Lisa worries more about Lily than herself.  

"How is this going to impact her life down the road where she's so young?" Lisa said.

But Lily has no worries -- just gratitude that her best friend healthy again.

"She gave me the gift of life, and I got the incredible opportunity to kind of return the favor and give her the gift of life back," said Lily.

The Maine Transplant Program, operated by Maine Medical Center, is the only one of its kind in the state.