Taking an organ that is expendable from one body and placing it into another to save a life is quite a sacrifice. Wendy Golden, a Stephenville resident, made that sacrifice.
Golden, the senior branch office administrator at Edward Jones, donated a kidney on June 12.
When Golden's daughter was born 16 years ago, the child was diagnosed with horseshoe kidney, meaning the two kidneys were attached.
"I researched the condition her kidneys were in and found out it was a possibility that she would need a kidney donor. Even though the likelihood was slim, I was preparing myself," said Golden.
About a year ago, Golden received a call that would change her life.
"A good friend of mine called and he had been sick for a few years battling with diabetes and had a lot of problems. He called to tell me goodbye," Golden said. "He said his kidneys were gone and the only way he could turn it around was with a new kidney. I immediately told him I was interested."
But first she wanted to get her children's blessing.
"My kids asked me if donating the kidney would save his life," she said. "I told them 'yes,' and they asked me why I wouldn't go through with it."
Shortly thereafter, Golden learned she was a perfect match for her friend.
"We started going through all the tests for compatibility and we found out that we were actually a perfect match for the transplant," Golden said.
The criteria for organ transplants are hard to reach. They include compatible blood typing, HLA typing (Human Leukocyte Antigen) which are proteins on the cells of the body. Out of over 100 different antigens that have been identified, there are six that are the most important in organ transplants, and all six are inherited from each parent. Lastly there is the Cross-Match Testing. Blood from the donor and recipient are mixed and if the recipient's cells attack and kill the donor cells the cross-match is positive and the two are not compatible.
When it came time for the transplant, Golden wasn't sure what to expect.
"I didn't really know how the whole process would work. It ended up we were both in the same room and they took the kidney out of me and he received it almost an hour later," she said.
Now, three months later, Golden is feeling great.
"The only side effect so far is that I can't eat Chinese food. I'm pretty upset about that because I love it," she said.
She also wears a pin of a kidney every day to work that her recipient's wife gave her.
"She says it's my second kidney now," Golden said.
The recipient is also doing well - and that's something Golden is thankful for.
"Little did I know that God was preparing me 16 years ago to donate a kidney, not to my daughter but to someone else," she said.