(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Two women are united through organ donation, showing us what the season of giving is all about.
This is a story about life, love and selfless giving. It's a story about two women who share more than just friendship. They share the gift of life.
Melissa Blevins runs the solid organ transplant unit at mayo clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Every day she hears about people who die because no donor organs were available. And the day she saw two little children die for that reason, her life changed forever.
"It struck me that night that both of those deaths were so unnecessary. And it really turned a corner for me, and I thought we've got to do more. I've got to do more. And then I met Risa," Blevins, R.N. Mayo Clinic, said.
"I had polycystic kidney disease, also known as pkd," Risa said.
Risa was on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Melissa volunteered to give Risa one of hers.
"We matched as close as sisters," Blevins said.
In simultaneous operations, the mayo transplant team removed both of Risa's damaged kidneys and one of Melissa's healthy ones. then they transplanted it into Risa.
"Not only did she give me a new kidney, but she allowed me to give someone else my place in line," Risa said.
"She calls her kidney, the one that I donated, MAK. That's an acronym for Melissa's Amazing Kidney," Blevins said.
"I'm overwhelmed by her spirit, her selflessness, her desire to not only be passionate about spreading the word about living donation, but to be walking the talk," Risa said.
Giving up a kidney is not risk-free. Donors go through an operation and need to be checked out thoroughly beforehand to make sure they're healthy.