Transplant sisters: Woman donates kidney to longtime friend

"I don't know what to say. I love her and it was never a question. It was never a question."

ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – More than 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In 2021, 6,000 people died in the United States while waiting for a match.

A Tennessee woman, Elizabeth Wright, found out that she would be one of the thousands of people in need of a miracle, and it turned out her perfect match was a woman in Aberdeen.

It was out of the blue when Elizabeth Brahan Wright started feeling unwell.

Blood work showed that Wright’s kidney was functioning at 28%, which is close to failure.

The normally healthy woman would need a transplant, fast.

“When I got to the first kidney specialist, the results had gotten even worse. And that’s when I first knew something was really wrong. I remember I had a kidney biopsy done and they said ‘You and your husband need to come in and get these results. We are not going to tell you over the phone.’ And that was the moment I realized that something was really wrong here,” said Wright.

Even with the severity of her condition, a donor was going to be hard to find and her options were limited.

“The doctors told me the list for a deceased donor is about five years and I really didn’t have that long to be just frank. So, the doctor said the best option for you, to especially get a kidney that’s going to last the longest, was to get a living donor. And I remember looking at him and was like ‘Well how do you go about getting one of those’,” said Wright.

That’s when her longtime friend, more like a sister, Shirley Boehs, submitted her name to become a living donor.

To the surprise of both of them, she was a perfect match.

“It came to me pretty strongly after I read her text message that I needed to put my name on the list. Because I am O-negative blood which I knew was universal and it would mix with hers. So, I knew there was no issue with my blood type. But I had a pretty strong feeling then that if I gave her my name it would be me. I can’t describe it. It’s a feeling I had,” said Boehs.

Now a month after surgery, and still on the road to recovery, both ladies said that this was nothing short of a miracle. And it was possible because of their faith.

“Right after when I got into the recovery room, they had a catheter in. And that’s really how they monitor if the kidney is working. And all these nurses, I’m still kind of loopy, and all these nurses they just looking at each other. And they are looking at me and are saying this is a perfect kidney. I don’t know where this came from but you have a perfect kidney. Like a perfect kidney and you just kind of sit there and wow. God had this all figured out,” said Wright.

“The day before my preop, I didn’t even know this was possible. He showed me on his computer screen, and my surgeon showed me that my kidney was functioning at 112%,” said Boehs.

While it’s given Wright a second chance at life, it’s opened her perspective on what selflessness is.

“I can’t imagine the people that donate even know the person. I mean it’s a huge gift and to ask somebody to do that when they love you is one thing,” said Wright.

“I don’t know what to say. I love her and it was never a question. It was never a question,” said Boehs.

Both ladies said this experience had brought them even closer. They hope their story inspires others to donate the gift of life and give hope to others who may be in the same position.

Wright’s new kidney should last up to 20 years.

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