Tia Wimbush(Left) and Susan Ellis(Right) have worked together in the IT department at the Children’s Health of Atlanta for more than 10 years. One day Tia and Susan shared a conversation that would change everything. While washing their hands, they started a conversation about the donor process.
Tia asked Susan, what’s your husband’s blood type? Susan’s husband is type O negative, a very rare blood type that’s difficult to match. On the other hand, Susan’s blood type is A, which matches Tia’s husband’s type AB. ‘See where their conversation might be leading to’.
“All that was going through my head is, ‘What if we can donate our kidneys to each other’s husbands?’ I could have never imagined it,” Tia told CNN.
Tia went back to her desk and called her donor coordinator immediately. She wanted to start the process of letting them know that she’s found a match for her husband and she’s a match for that person’s husband.
Both Tia and Susan’s husband’s kidneys were failing him. “It was extremely emotional,” Tia said. Within an hour of running tests, they started saying things like, ‘Has anyone ever mentioned kidney failure to you?’ And we were like, what’s happening? What are you talking about? What does this mean for us?”
On March 19, 2021, the four friends underwent surgery at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Lance was given Tia’s kidney, and Rodney was given Susan’s kidney; both of their bodies accepted their new kidneys.
“It’s beyond friendship. They really are family.” Tia said. Tia and Susan hope that their story will bring awareness to becoming a donor.