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Uploaded on Jun 21, 2010
Benita Smith and Jackie Wright are sisters, 10 years apart. Jackie is the older sibling, and Benita has always looked up to her big sister.
But I mean we were close. I remember she was leaving for college to come to Ohio State and I had no perception how far campus was maybe 20 minutes by car, and I balled because my big sister was leaving for college..but she was right up the road. Jackie: I think it was orientation actually she was 7 ..I was 17..and she just about had a meltdown.
That sister bond came to mean much more, after Benita was diagnosed with kidney disease. After 15 months on dialysis, Benita knew that if she ever wanted an active life, an active part in the lives of her 2 young children, a transplant was the only way.
But it's not something you just ask..hey can I have a kidney..you know you don't really ask that...
I mean you just don't go around asking people hey what's your blood type? Do you want to donate a kidney? It's just not something that comes up in casual conversation...
While Benita never asked, Jackie intuitively knew what had to be done.
Jackie: I recall taking a trip to dialysis and I think that may be where the idea formulated—because it's just an incredibly trying ordeal...you see patients..some of whom have been there for years. I was just...if I can get Benita off of that by donating a kidney, it's worth it.
We always ask if they have potential living kidney donor in this case, Jackie offered to donate. It's usually a better outcome with family members.
Jackie proved to be a blood match and tissue match for Benita. Then it was full steam ahead. Their entire family, their friends and their church rallied around the sisters.
She's always taken care of me..thought I was her own personal baby doll when we were kid and she would comb my hair, you know? So she's always taken care of me..always looked out for me so...this is just above and beyond. Anything you could ever ask from a sibling. And I didn't'even ask—it's humbling to know that someone would do that for you.....
I don't look at is as being a hero..there was a problem..it needed to be fix or solved and when you looked at her kids and realized she might not be here one day because I didn't step forward..that would have been hard to bear.
And we do quite often speak on the benefits of donation and its amazing ....the African American community has the highest need for organs but are the least likely to give. So if us meeting with you today will help dispel that myth then today's been worth it.
Another person spreading that same message in the African American community, is Ginger Cunningham...someone who offered support to the sisters throughout their journey.
On the outside, Ginger is a feisty woman who can hold her own on a construction site...she keeps crews in line, on time, and on budget for the city of Columbus. But on the inside...you'd never know what's missing.
Five years ago, she found out her co-worker Mary, was sick.
she told me she just left the doctor's office and she had to have a kidney transplant.
With barely a moment's hesitation....
it was like an out of body experience... i just heard myself say give me the name and number, then i said, Oh God, did I really say that
Within days, Ginger was on the phone with OSU Medical Center. And over the next several weeks, she answered every question that was asked, took every test that was needed, never faltering in her desire to help a friend. And it was worth it...she was the perfect match for Mary.
to think that god selected me, a 61 year old woman??
the magnitude of being able to save somebody's life is tremendous.
Nearly three months after learning she was a match... The transplant was performed.
When Ginger's surgery was over, her biggest concern was for her friend. In fact, she refused to leave the recovery area until Mary's surgery was also complete.
Upon seeing Mary in recovery...ginger knew her decision to donate her kidney was the right one.
the peace that was over her was phenominal. and the fact that her skin color had changed i no longer saw that yellow cast to her skin. just instantly, just having that kidney was correcting, was healing her body, and i was ready to go back to my room then
the donor sometimes recovers very quickly, and sometimes you can see them walking down the hall together , which is very gratifying.
Most of the donors within a couple of weeks are back to normal. Sometimes they want to go back to work faster than we think they should. But I think it shows you that you can recover very nicely with the new laparoscopic surgery.
In a matter of days, both were on the road to recovery... In about 6 weeks, they were both back to work mary beat me back to work!
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