When one Pennsylvania woman found out that her friend and former co-worker’s kidneys were failing, she was determined to do something to help.
About a year ago, a 33-year-old mom of one, Rebekah Ceidro, saw a post on Facebook from her friend Chris Moore. The 30-year-old has battled chronic kidney disease his entire life and had just found out that he had about six months to a year before his kidneys would fail completely and he would either need a kidney transplant or would have to go on dialysis.
“I just kept seeing the post and it would tug at my heart. You don’t think about things like that when you are 30 years old. You think about when you are going to get married, not ‘How am I going to save my own life?’” Ceidro said. “I didn’t see any call for action. I didn’t see any people saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ And I just thought I had to do something.”
Ceidro and Moore happened to have the same blood type, so she decided she had to save her friend’s life. However, when she went to the doctor to start the process for the donation, she was told her BMI was too high for her to be a donor.
“What’s uniquely different about the donor operation is that these are people are very altruistically and very nobly putting themselves in harm’s way for someone else,” said Dr. Amit Tevar, associate professor of surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Our job is pretty simple: it’s to make sure the donors have a safe process and we don’t put them at any undue risk.”
“Admittedly, I was really angry that two individual surgeons would have the audacity to say such a thing, but they were right,” Ceidro said. “My actual thought was, ‘I’m too fat to save my friend’s life.’ And that sucked, but that’s at least something you can change.” Despite the setback, Ceidro was determined to donate her kidney, so started changing her lifestyle immediately to lose the 15 pounds doctors told her she would have to shed to be eligible to donate. “I thought, ‘This is what I’m going to do, I’m going to start running and keep running until I can do a 5K every day,”
“I thought, ‘This is what I’m going to do, I’m going to start running and keep running until I can do a 5K every day,” Ceidro said. Soon after, Ceidro was running about three to four miles a day, was eating healthier, and started weight training. A few months later, she lost about 40 pounds and on May 7, she finished the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
“The marathon was like this mountain that I needed to climb in my own life to see if I could get to the top. It was a feeling like there wasn’t anything in the world I couldn’t accomplish because I just accomplished this,” said Ceidro, who is now preparing for transplant surgery with Moore in the next three to six months. “I use her courage to give myself courage. If she can do this, then I can do this,” Moore said.
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[Featured image: Today]