Health & Medicine

Kings exec to give his kidney to his wife for their 11th anniversary

Two busy people – a Sacramento Kings executive and his wife, an author with a new book – are about to call a timeout to enter the hospital for kidney transplantation.

Phillip Horn, a vice president with the Kings, will be giving one of his kidneys to his wife, Danea Horn, who has recently been on tour for her new book.

Danea only has 6percent kidney function. The Sacramento resident initially wanted to avoid a transplant procedure, hoping for a cure.

“Now we think how miraculous it is,” she said. “It is amazing that I get to do this with my husband, that he was a match and that science has figured out how to do this. That’s astounding.”

Danea has fought her entire life with VACTERL association, a constellation of birth disorders that has affected many body systems, including her kidneys. She had 10 surgeries before she was 2 years old.

“The R in VACTERL stands for renal, which is the kidneys,” said Danea.

Danea, 34, was born with only one kidney and has managed her chronic kidney disease for a long time, knowing that a transplant would eventually be needed.

“My wife is a warrior,” said Phillip. “This has been an amazing journey for both of us to go through.”

The couple searched for a donor in Danea’s family, but didn’t find a good match. Then, they found out that Phillip, 34, would be a good donor.

“We found out that I was in kidney failure the day that my book released,” said Danea, the author of “Chronic Resilience,” which provides advice for women coping with the stress of illness. “In between traveling to different cities on the book tour, I was also getting lab work done and talking to the transplant center and my doctors.”

The transplant is set for Tuesday at UC Davis Medical Center. The surgery is scheduled shortly before the Kings’ preseason opener and the couple’s 11th wedding anniversary.

“I’m going to have more kidney function when this is done than I had when I was 15 years old,” said Danea. “There is a lot that comes with kidney transplant, namely how to live with a suppressed immune system. But thousands live with it every year. I’ll figure it out.”

Phillip, who said he is probably off the hook for buying an anniversary gift this year, will probably be in the hospital for a couple of days and Danea for five to seven days.

“Normally, we just go away for a weekend on anniversary,” said Danea. “This year, we will probably have our moms make us a dinner and I’ll hobble downstairs.”

On Feb. 19, Phillip is spearheading a “Kings Donate Life Night” at a game to raise awareness of the critical need for organ and tissue donors.

“While Phillip is giving an extraordinary gift to his wife as a living donor, each of us can give the gift of life after we pass away,” said Tracy Bryan, a spokeswoman for Sierra Donor Services. “Every donor has the potential to save eight lives as an organ donor, and improve another 50 lives as a tissue donor. It takes just minutes to sign up through the DMV or online at

and it can mean years of life for countless others.”