For many the gift of life is a precious thing, but for some the gift of friendship can be just as meaningful.
Thursday afternoon, two local women shared their story of living organ donations.
Marcia Pell, a local dietitian and nutritionist, also has another title: organ donor.
“I traded two months of my regular life to save a life, and I am so blessed for it,” she said.
Pell dedicated her life to diabetes education after she lost her husband to complications of the disease, and when a friend of her’s was in need of a transplant, she knew she needed to help.
“I have great health and I just wanted to give back or pass it forward, so I agreed to see if I could be a living donor for her,” Pell said.
Her friend, Liz Kasey, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005.
“I had gone many years not knowing, and had done damage to my kidneys,” Liz said. “So two years ago I found out that I would need to go on dialysis and would need to go on the transplant list.”
Unfortunately, Marcia was not a match for Liz, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her.
Together they joined Mayo Clinic’s pair donation program, where Marcia could donate her kidney to someone else, and Liz could find her match.
Pell said this helped them save two lives at once.
“I was approved and she was approved, and they found a match for her and they called me and said ‘Liz has a match, when do you want to have your surgery?’,” she said.
Marcia’s kidney helped save the life of another woman in Fort Walton Beach.
“So we both were recovering the same place right after surgery and that was a beautiful story because she was so grateful that I saved her life, we’ll probably be friends forever,” she said.
Liz and Marcia both had their surgeries in February, and have made full recoveries.
Now they hope to spread their story to save even more lives.