LAFAYETTE, Indiana - Cathy Woodard was 28 and healthy – so she was more than surprised when blood work revealed she had stage 3 chronic kidney disease. Discovered through a routine blood draw at her doctor's office, she outwardly showed no symptoms of the disease. Woodard originally thought "the results must be a mistake." After rerunning the test, a nephrologist told her she could live years at this stage of the disease, but that eventually, she would need a kidney transplant.
Fast forward four years to the fall of 2018. Woodard was working three days a week as a nurse at Franciscan Health Lafayette East and undergoing home dialysis when she was notified that she would be placed on the transplant list for a new kidney. Her doctor told her it could take three or more years to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. She was encouraged to share her story with hopes of finding a live donor.
First she put her story out on Facebook for friends and family, and then a few weeks later, she shared her story again on the Town of Dayton Facebook page. Her post was shared more than 600 times.
Enter Tina Scott, also a nurse at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. Scott saw the Facebook post through a friend who had shared it, and clicked on the story to learn more. "I didn't recognize her at first," said Scott. "Then I looked at her picture and realized I knew her from work." Scott, a registered organ donor on her driver's license for years, decided she should call the number and be confidentially screened to see if she was in fact a match for Woodard. As a nurse, Scott has witnessed firsthand the health issues and pain caused by kidney disease and wanted to help.
As the screening process progressed Scott reached out to Woodard to let her know she was being tested and hoped to, in fact, donate her kidney. This experience has connected these two nurses in a way they never imagined and created a lifelong bond.
The kidney transplant surgery was performed on Friday, February 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. Both women are recovering well and happy to be home. Woodard is looking forward to getting back to the things she enjoyed before she became sick – like running and going on her annual mission trip to West Africa. She missed the trip this year due to surgery, but looks forward to attending next year.
As for Scott, a married mother of two, when she was asked why she decided to donate her kidney, she said "you are improving or saving someone's life!"
Both women expect to be back at work in the coming months.