On his 20th wedding anniversary last year, Hempstead police Officer James Morris Jr. spared no expense on his wife's present, giving her the convertible sports car she'd been dreaming of.

At the time, Morris said, he boasted gleefully: "You'll never be able to top this."

It turns out she has. Friday, one day before their anniversary, Morris will get the gift of his life from his spouse when she donates a kidney to him.

Morris, 42, suffers from chronic kidney disease. He is in end-stage renal failure, with less than 10 percent of kidney function.

"Being a donor is the best gift you could possibly give anybody," Morris said Thursday. "She's actually saving my life."

Hempstead Police Officer James Morris Jr. has chronic kidney disease. Newsday Photo / Karen Wiles Stabile / July 23, 2009 Photo Credit: Newsday Photo / Karen Wiles Stabile

His wife, 41, wants to protect her identity because of risks associated with her work.

For most of his life, Morris believed he would develop the disease because of his family history. His paternal grandmother died of renal failure more than 50 years ago. His father underwent dialysis for chronic kidney disease, finally receiving a transplant in 2001. His brother suffers from the same condition.

The couple worries that their daughters, 12 and 20, may also end up with the disease.

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Morris was diagnosed 10 years ago, but it wasn't until tests in 2005 showed his renal function was 50 percent that he realized how serious it was.

"[I was] still going to work and making a lot of arrests, working the midnight shift, chasing people with guns," said Morris, a 12-year member of the Hempstead Village police force. "Sometimes I would be so tired, but I had to act like everything was OK."

In May, when his doctor informed him he was in end stage, Morris asked his employer to phase him out of patrol duty. He prepared to undergo dialysis, and he and his wife traveled to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore to register him on a waiting list.

After watching a video about kidney donation, Morris' wife turned to him and said she would submit to the surgery.

She offered to do a kidney exchange, in which she would donate her kidney to another in return for one for her husband, but the Morrises turned out to be a match. "I don't want any notoriety," she said. "It's my husband. I love him."

The couple is scheduled to undergo surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan Friday afternoon.