Local woman donates kidney to stranger for 40th birthday

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CLEVELAND (WJW) -- A local woman did the extraordinary for her 40th birthday. She gave the gift of life.

The last time Karrie Nickloy and Collin Rand were together was in the hospital after a kidney transplant.

On Thursday, the pair officially met and shared plenty of hugs.

Karrie donated her kidney to Collin as a way of celebrating her 40th birthday. This stemmed from a promise she made when she was a young girl.

“When I was younger my brother had leukemia and he needed a bone marrow transplant. They did testing and there was nobody that was a match and, unfortunately, he passed away. The kind of idea that somebody could give something of themselves and literally save someone's life was set at that point," Karrie said.

On December 17, which is both Karrie and Collin's birthdays, she signed up to be a kidney donor.

It wasn't long before she received the call that her organ was a match for someone in need.

Collin, a father of seven, had been waiting for a donor for almost three years. He was running out of time and he just wanted to be around to see more graduations and have more time with his children.

“I only had eight percent of my kidney use but I still felt normal, though I tried to live everyday life like I normally could. It still affected me though, going to work and then going to dialysis four hours a day," Collin said.

Karrie says she was so excited to help Collin that she got a photographer to document everything.

The surgery, performed by Cleveland Clinic Renal Transplant Surgeon Dr. Alvin Wee on January 15, offered Collin a second chance at life.

“I felt it was a good way to use what I’ve been given to use my health and use my strength and pass it along to someone else," Karrie explained.

If you would like to find out more information about organ donation, visit the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center's website or Lifebanc.org.

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