Kidney recipients in Oklahoma grateful for kindness of strangers




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At least two people in Oklahoma are alive today because of kidney donations from strangers, according to reports.

Salvadore Cazares, 24, of Seminole, who had been undergoing dialysis for two years, was likely going to die — and then Natasha Wilbourn, 37, from Wetumka, decided to donate one of her kidneys, Tulsa’s KOTV-TV reported.

The surgeries took place earlier this month and the pair met this week on Christmas Eve, the station reported.

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“People can live perfectly healthy lives with one kidney,” Wilbourn told the station, adding that God told her a year and a half ago that she would eventually become an organ donor.

Meanwhile, Jeanie Franklin of Oklahoma City had almost given up on finding a kidney donor. Three times a week, Franklin would undergo dialysis for four hours a day before heading to work.

Then a young co-worker she barely knew came to her aid.

The two are now close friends, and plan to meet every December to mark the anniversary of their surgeries, according to a report.

“I questioned her. ‘Why would you do this for me?’,” Franklin told Oklahoma City’s KOCO-TV.

“She thought I was crazy, just some random crazy girl,” donor Lorie Peaker said.

According to the report, Peaker felt compassion after learning about Franklin’s health condition, in part because her own father’s kidneys stopped working before he died in 2012.

By the time the day for surgery arrived, Peaker had moved to Denver, but still traveled back and forth between there and Oklahoma City for tests and the operation, the report said.

“Everybody deserves a chance to live,” Peaker told the station, “and, if I was a match, why would I not want to do it?”

“Everybody deserves a chance to live, and, if I was a match, why would I not want to do it?”

— Lorie Peaker, kidney donor

Said Franklin: “This is the best gift anybody could ever give me.”

Around 800 people in Oklahoma alone are waiting for life-saving organ donations, KOTV reported, citing information from Lifeshare Oklahoma.

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