Brotherly love: Butler Blue's handler receives kidney transplant from sibling

Michael Kaltenmark (left) received a kidney from his brother a day before his 40th birthday. (Michael Kaltenmark photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Kaltenmark family is closer than most.

Now, there's a new bond, bringing Butler Blue's handler Michael Kaltenmark and his brother Doug closer than ever before.

Doug just donated his kidney to his younger brother on the eve of Michael's 40th birthday. It's the kind of birthday gift on which you can't put a price.

Thursday's transplant surgery at IU Health was a success, with the brothers' parents and their oldest brother there, along with Michael's wife, Tiffany.

Michael was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure last year after doctors told him a medicine he'd taken earlier in life to treat Crohn's disease had destroyed his kidneys.

Now, thanks to his older brother, he's got a new one.

"It's a pretty good 40th birthday present, really," said close family friend and race car driver and race team owner Ed Carpenter, who was headed in to visit his friend, hours after the surgery.

"He's awake and just trying to get comfortable," said Carpenter.

The transplant procedure came when Michael discovered his own brother was match, after taking to social media in search of a kidney donor.

Now, the long road to healing has begun.

"So far, so good. Procedures like this are complicated and there's still hurdles to clear, but everything so far's been positive," said Carpenter.

"I think more than anything, Michael's just extremely thankful for the support that he's had up to this process, thankful for his brother and everyone here at IU Health that have done a tremendous job and treated him so well," said Carpenter.

There's also word that Blue 3, aka "Trip," could be visiting Michael in the hospital tomorrow.