GAIL WHITE Distant relatives thankful for 'double miracle'
"I would not be alive right now if it weren't for Cindy," says North Jackson's Nancy Mayor about Cindy Moran of Boardman.
"I would not be here today if it weren't for Nancy," says Cindy.
These two women were brought together by a set of circumstances so remarkable that it can be called nothing less than a miracle.
In 2000, Nancy was suffering from renal kidney failure. Her already slight body build had been reduced to a mere 80 pounds. She desperately needed a kidney transplant.
After her immediate family was tested, and no match was found, Nancy was put on the transplant list.
"It usually takes three years to get a kidney when you are on the list," Nancy explains. "I didn't have three years."
Meanwhile, Cindy had learned of Nancy's plight.
"Cindy is a distant relative on my husband's side," explains Nancy. "I knew her name, but if I had seen her on the street, I wouldn't have known who she was."
When Cindy learned the severity of Nancy's illness, her heart broke. She wanted to do something.
'It's A Miracle'
One afternoon, Cindy was flipping through television channels and stopped at the PAX station during the show "It's A Miracle."
"It was about a woman giving a kidney to someone she didn't know," recalls Cindy.
The show prompted Cindy to get tested to see if her kidney would be a match for Nancy.
"It was a 97 percent match," says Nancy. "They said our blood not only liked each other, it loved each other!"
Nancy's hopes soared. But the next several months proved to be a trying time for both women.
"They [transplant personnel] go out of their way to make sure you can give that kidney," Cindy says.
Tests were done and re-done. Meanwhile, Nancy was running out of time.
"This will be a terrible thing if I have interfered in her life and then it doesn't work out," Cindy remembers thinking.
Finally, all tests were completed, and both women were cleared for the transplant.
Though scheduled for a later date, the surgery was moved up to Oct. 16, 2000, 15 days before she was to return to the Cleveland Clinic.
A transplant specialist from the clinic was scheduled to do the surgery at St. Elizabeth Health Center.
"I remember a nurse telling me how lucky we were to get this doctor," Cindy recalls. "Because unusual things always happen when he's the surgeon. He can handle anything."
Those words proved to be prophetic.
When the surgeon opened up Cindy, he found a very thinly lodged aneurysm on Cindy's renal artery.
"It could have burst at any time," Nancy says.
"The other surgeons said they would have removed the aneurysm, repaired the artery and closed her up," Nancy says. "I would have not gotten my kidney."
This confident surgeon removed the aneurysm, repaired the artery and harvested Cindy's kidney.
"Did I give her a bad kidney?" Cindy remembers asking the doctor.
"No, you had a bad kidney," she remembers him responding.
In saving a stranger's life, Cindy's own life had been saved.
"After the surgery, Cindy came to see me," Nancy recalls. "The first thing she said to me was 'thank you for saving my life.' "
And Nancy thanked her back.
Neither one would be here today without the other.
"I wake up sometimes and pinch myself," Nancy beams. "I love to tell the story. I get goosebumps."
"I will never look at life the same," says Cindy. "A ride to work is different for me."
Last year, the television show that inspired Cindy to action, "It's A Miracle," featured the two women's story.
They named the segment "Double Miracle."