Photo: Elizabeth Lanham, left, and Megan Lanham Bradshaw pose for a picture. Megan, who has had lupus since she was a teen, recently received a kidney transplant from her cousin Elizabeth, allowing her to avoid the need for dialysis. / Bryant Hawkins | Hattiesburg American.
Twenty-six-year-old Megan Lanham Bradshaw and her 19-year-old cousin Elizabeth Lanham share a special bond.
They've always been close, but six weeks ago Elizabeth donated a kidney to Megan.
"God gave (me) two kidneys for a reason," said Elizabeth. "If you can live a totally normal life with one, why not give one to save someone else's?"
Megan, who lives in Hattiesburg, and Elizabeth, who lives in Sumrall, had their surgery at the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute in New Orleans on March 12.
"I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 15," said Megan. "It was under control for most of my life, and then, when I was 24, it went crazy on me and attacked the kidney."
According to the Lupus Foundation of America Inc., lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the kidneys, skin, joints and blood.
Megan was in such poor health that her Hattiesburg doctor, John Thornton, recommended she get on the transplant list.
"By the time I got the surgery, both of my kidneys only had 12 percent function," she said. "At 10 percent you have to go on dialysis, and Dr. Thornton decided I was too young to do that."
To Learn more about Lupus, Lupus Foundation of America