Sometimes the kindness of strangers can evolve into a lifechanging experience.
Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis are examples of this truth. The women shared a tough personal issue because of an impromptu conversation. According to CNN, the coworkers who chatted in a restroom at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta ended up building an impactful friendship which revealed that both of their husbands needed kidneys. USA Today added that both women’s’ husbands experienced renal failure during similar time periods.
Upon realizing that Ellis’ blood type matched Wimbush’s husband’s, and Wimbush’s blood type could be compatible with Ellis’s spouse, Wimbush wondered if kidney donation would be possible for their spouses. Rodney Wimbush and Lance Elllis had a stroke of luck. Everyone was a match.
“It is very rare for two immunologically incompatible pairs to propose their own paired exchange and actually be a match for one another,” Christina Klein, a transplant nephrologist at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, said in a statement provided to CNN. “I have been a transplant nephrologist since 2008 working in active living donation and paired kidney exchange programs, and I have personally never seen this happen before.”
Two women who once passed each other at work took a journey to share a live-saving bond for their husbands. Their families are no longer casual acquaintances.
“It’s beyond friendship. They really are family,” Tia told CNN. “We all took a leap of faith in doing this and now we are forever connected, always rooting each other on in both the recovery process and in this second chance of life.”
Tia Wimbush also shared the story of kindness and hope on Facebook, back in March.
“Kidney transplant and donation complete! 💚💚💚💚 Thank you Susan Ellis for giving my husband Rodney a second chance at life by donating your kidney to him, and it was my honor to do the same for your husband Lance by donating my kidney to him in our paired kidney exchange,” Wimbush said.
After explaining that her husband, Rodney, was diagnosed with kidney disease and kidney failure in 2019, she added how Susan and Lance’s journey aligned with the same dynamic.
“Long story short, we discovered we could be potential matches for each other’s husbands. And this weekend, the donation and transplant operations were complete for all of us. What a mighty God we serve! 🙌🏾🙏🏾,” Wimbush explained. “Thank you for all of the prayers and support from our family and friends!! We’ll continue to need them as the recovery process begins.”
How prevalent is kidney disease in the U.S.?
“I7,600 kidney transplants were performed in the United States in 2013,” according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The statistics also revealed that “more than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. Of these, 468,000 individuals are on dialysis, and roughly 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.”