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Inspiring Story: Woman donates kidney, gives her best friend the gift of life [WATCH]

Chane Gildon (L), Dr. Matthias Kapturczak (M), and Stephenie Gardiner (R) celebrate the 200th Live Donor Kidney Transplant performed at San Antonio's Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital. Gardiner donated a kidney to her best friend a few days after Gildon's 40th birthday and just in time for the new year.EEW Magazine News // Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital

Share In late December in San Antonio, Texas, a 36-year-old mother of three from Jefferson City, Missouri, gave her best friend the most precious gift of all: a healthy kidney and the promise of a new life for the New Year.

The procedure took place at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital and represented another milestone: the 200th live donor kidney transplant performed in 2016 at this private hospital. 

This is the greatest number of live donor kidney transplants ever completed in a single year at any transplant center in the USA, according to hospital officials.

The prospect of dialysis three-to-four times a week, for an estimated four hours per treatment, did not fit into the life Chané knew she wanted for herself and her daughters. She chose to pursue a transplant. But it was not easy.

With 100,000 people in the United States on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, only 12,500 annually receive a kidney while 5,000 die and 3,000 grow too weak for the operation. Another 400,000 never make it to a waiting list and continue on dialysis, with an average life expectancy of five years versus 12 to 20 years for a kidney transplanted from a living donor. 

Chané's doctor suggested she seek a living kidney donor. After her mother and brother were tested in September and found to be incompatible, Chané told Stephenie the devastating news, seeking only solace from her best friend. Instead, Stephenie offered her a kidney.

In late November, Stephenie was tested and deemed a match, and on December 23, a few days after Chané's 40th birthday, the live donor kidney transplant took place.

"Initially, I had concerns about my own health with only one kidney." said Stephenie.  "But I couldn't stand to see Chané growing weaker and suffering. So I trusted my faith and knew I was meant to do this."

If you need a kidney through a living donor, or if you are an individual who is willing to donate a kidney, click here to learn more.

Watch their story below.

RELATED: Kidney disease and cancer survivor Cassandra Elliott earns her degree


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