|Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis worked at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Source: CBS News|
Co-workers at Atlanta’s Children’s Healthcare, Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis, have worked together for over a decade and worked in the same department for five years. However, despite their proximity both women were surprised to learn from a mutual friend that both their husbands were suffering from kidney failure. (According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney disease impacts approximately 37 million people in the U.S. alone.)
Since the pandemic the two had been working remotely but when the hospital returned to modified office hours, the two women’s schedules overlapped. During a chance encounter in the bathroom, the pair had a conversation that would change their lives.
“We were going through the transplant process. Susan and her husband, he was already on the list, she had already gone through the process of getting tested and I had just started. And she had told me in the bathroom that afternoon that she and her husband were not a match,” Wimbush told CBS News.
After discussing blood types and sharing additional information, the two realized they could be matches for each other’s husbands.
Wimbush said, “By the end of October, early November, I found out I was a viable donor and I matched Lance — and I matched my husband, but Susan was an even better match.”
On the morning of March 19, Ellis’ kidney was transplanted to Susan’s husband Rodney. Later that day, Wimbush’s kidney was given to Ellis’ husband Lance.
“We are lucky because a lot of men and women and children wait years — and I mean seven to nine years, not just one or two,” Ellis told CBS News. “And sometimes, their time on the waitlist will outlive them.”
Wimbush and Ellis expressed the hope that by sharing their story it would inspire others to open up because you never know how close you might be to your next match.
Source: CBS News