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2017 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Tami Hinz and Teresa Vandenbusch

Kidney transplant recipient Tami FrappyFor Tami Hinz, social media has been, quite literally, a lifesaver. When the Bonduel, Wis., woman was in her 20s, she learned that her kidneys did not work.

 

Her brother donated a kidney to her in 2008, and she experienced rejection that made her sick for a long time. She took her medications and lived life as well as she could until January 2015, when she learned her new kidney was failing. She went on dialysis and her brother began posting Facebook messages looking for a kidney donor.

 

Living kidney donor Teresa Vandenbusch

One of his messages hit its intended target: Teresa Vandenbusch of Pulaski, Wis., a friend of the family, had always wanted to donate a kidney to someone.

 

"When I heard about Tami, I thought, how wonderful. This is meant to be," says Teresa.

 

She found out she wasn't a match for Teresa, but they could participate in a paired kidney exchange, swapping kidneys with others who were in the same predicament. They waited six months before learning that a match had been found.

 

"I lost 20 pounds to get in better shape for the surgery," says Teresa. "I'm healthier now than I've been in a long time."

 

Tami was nervous because her last transplant hadn't gone well, but she now feels better than she has in years. "This was an answer to our prayers," she says. "Teresa is a wonderful lady."

 

Read about the kidney exchange