Morgan R. Johnson of Plainfield (left) received a kidney from her friend, Kellye M. Miller of Piscataway, in 2007. On Sunday, both women participated in the second annual NJ Sharing Network Walk/Run, which raises money and awareness for organ and tissue donation. / Cheryl Makin/Staff Photo
NEW PROVIDENCE — College prepares you for life as an adult, but for Morgan R. Johnson of Plainfield, college gave her the chance to be alive as an adult.
Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at age 18, Johnson continued her education as a commuter student at Kean University in Union. So did Kellye M. Miller of Piscataway. The two shared a couple of classes together in 2005 and became friends.
Not knowing Johnson was on dialysis and in need of a kidney, Miller would ask her friend to hang out. Johnson typically declined, but after the friendship grew, she finally explained her medical condition to Miller.
Miller had just begun working at New Providence-based New Jersey Sharing Network — which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — an organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of lifesaving transplants. The foundation is committed to increasing the number of lives saved through education, research and public awareness about the benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
Knowing her friend’s predicament, Miller started researching being a donor. After about three months of carefully contemplating her decision, Miller asked Johnson if she could give her a kidney. Initially, Johnson said no, thinking she had family members who would be a match.