A woman who needed dialysis just to survive received the gift of life from a complete stranger.
The anonymous kidney donor and the recipient met for the first time to thank her in person.
Complete strangers until Monday, Valene Escobedo was recently very ill and was only surviving by a constant dialysis routine.
"They told me I had a living donor and I was very happy,” she said. “Like it was a miracle.”
Susana Margraf lost her father to kidney failure several years ago. She felt compelled to do something in his memory so she decided to give one of her kidneys to someone she did not know.
"I thought of my dad,” she said. “I thought about how he passed away. And I thought this is my chance to make a difference. This is my chance to make the world a better place."
Margraf’s giving spirit has transformed Escobedo from living a life racked with the side effects of dialysis to someone who is healthy and thriving.
It was a living donor scenario doctors say has happened only a couple hundred times ever — someone who offers a kidney to anyone who badly needs it.
"We had a conundrum of how do we best use this kidney and who do we give this kidney to,” said Dr. Malcolm Macconmara. “So in combination with our nephrologists and our surgeons and going through the list, we found the best person suitable for it."
The recipient, Escobedo, also had to be a perfect match.
"I'm just excited to start looking forward, going back to school,” Escobedo said.” I’d like to become a psychologist and help people around the world."
"I just knew I could help someone,” Margraf said. “And that's what I wanted to do."