WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — How far would you go to help a colleague?
At The Health Plan in Wheeling, one woman donated a kidney to her friend and co-worker, whose health was failing.
Now they are both back and work and thriving–each with one healthy kidney.
But there were many anxious moments along the way.
Susan Klinkoski would come back from her check-ups, knowing her kidney disease was getting worse.
“And as my creatinine climbed and things looked worse and worse, it was always just kind of a joke. How are you still sitting here, don’t you feel bad, what’s gonna go on with this. And yeah, Heather just kind of took that information and said yeah, I’ll give her a kidney when the time comes.”Susan Klinkoski | Kidney recipient
Heather Jones meant what she said.
These two co-workers with cubicles across from each other discovered that they were a perfect match.
They were on track for a transplant until Heather’s mother suffered a kidney injury in the meantime.
“They were gonna put her on dialysis. Fortunately she ended up recovering. It was severe dehydration. And she’s doing fine. But it was about a month before our scheduled transplant so my mind was wondering who I should give the kidney to.”Heather Jones | Kidney Donor
So the plan was back on.
Then Susan tested positive for COVID.
Finally, in January, on a Friday the 13th, they had the surgery.
Even then, Susan had complications–a blood clot, anemia, then a respiratory infection.
Three months later, she was back to work, recovered and healthy.
“I’m actively working full time, I walk daily, I swim in my pool.”Susan Klinkoski | Kidney recipient
Heather is also feeling good, and encourages anyone considering organ donation to learn everything they can.
“You do only need one. You can live perfectly fine with one kidney. It works just as good as having two.”Heather Jones | Kidney Donor
And Susan is living a life of health and gratitude.
“So grateful that I really don’t have the words for it and I cry every time someone asks me that question or they say what do you want to say to Heather. Usually I just cry. But I’m a happy crier and I don’t have the words to say what it means to me.”Susan Klinkoski | Kidney recipient