All of us at one time or another have given a gift to a friend. But two lifelong friends from Alaska are showing how the bond of friendship can save a life.
Judie Wolfe is donating one of her kidneys to her friend Terri Teas.
“Everybody should have quality of life, that's what life is about,” Wolfe said.
It had been years since the women had worked together in Alaska. And then, by chance, they met again.
“I ran into Terri, I hadn't seen her in a while and I said hi. So we got to chatting and she told me she was going on dialysis,” Wolfe said.
Teas’ kidneys had been failing for years, and doctors told her she needed a new kidney. After catching up, they discovered they had the same blood type.
“I just sort of knee-jerked and said, ‘Well, if you need a kidney, let me know,'” Wolfe recalled.
“I said thank you for the offer,” Teas said, “and she (Wolfe) made the call to Swedish (Medical Center), she set up all the tests, she passed them all with flying colors and here she is.”
Dr. Marquis Hart, director of the Swedish medical organ transplant center, said, “We have a large number of patients waiting for kidney transplantation and they oftentimes have to wait three, four, five years to get a kidney transplant.”
Hart will be performing the kidney transplant surgery.
“When an individual comes forward to donate a kidney, especially someone who's not even related, it's a special event,” Hart said. “It's a tremendous gift and we feel grateful just to be part of that experience.”
For Wolfe, she said she did what any friend would do.
“You have to do and take care of others,” she said. Looking at her friend, she said, “I'm going to be part of her. She's going to be part of me. Yes, she's making me immortal -- for a while.”
The kidney donation comes after a failed first attempt for Teas. Her son was unable to give his kidney after suffering from kidney issues of his own.The surgery is scheduled for Monday at Swedish Medical Center.