By Diana NewFour months ago, Victor Gotell and his wife Sharon underwent kidney transplant surgery together and are especially thankful to be happy and healthy this Christmas season.After he had been diagnosed with stage four renal kidney failure, Gotell spent the two and a half years searching for a live kidney donation while administering dialysis to himself at home.Two years of testing and dialysis brought Gotell’s search to an end when a bond he made 15 years ago became his salvation and he identified his wife as a perfect match for his much needed kidney. This Friday, Dec. 16, will mark four months since the surgery and the couple is stronger than ever in both their health and marriage.’We’ve always been really close as a couple,’ said Sharon. ‘The surgery has made us even closer, and our bond stronger. It’s just like the icing on top of the cake.’December has always been a special time of year for the Gotells, but this year the month holds an even greater significance, beginning with their anniversary. Tomorrow marks the couple’s 15th wedding anniversary and both agree they feel even more thankful to be a part of each other’s lives this year after creating new depths in their marital bond.’We are more thankful than we’ve ever been for our anniversary this year,’ said Sharon. ‘We have a new understanding of how short life can be and I am truly blessed to have Victor in my life and at my side another year.’Victor’s birthday follows the couple’s anniversary on Dec. 23 and he is glad he can celebrate another year of his life, and in good health. In the spirit of his health and the holiday season, Victor has taken time to share his testimony on social media to encourage others who may be suffering emotionally or physically.Next month, Gotell will take his encouragement to the next level with the launching of his Zoe Empowerment Partners group. Zoe Empowerment Partners was organized to provide individuals with knowledge and skills that can empower them in all areas of life. The group will host their first workshop at the Women’s Clubhouse from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 28. All are invited to attend the workshop and receive insight on subjects like finances, home ownership, health and fitness, dialysis and kidney transplant procedures. Sheriff Brad White will be featured as the guest speaker.’We want to provide individuals with knowledge and empowerment that can help them take back control over their lives when they are in need,’ said Victor.Though the Gotells have undergone hardship, they are grateful for the opportunities their experience provided them to help others, especially during this season of giving and compassion.