BEAUMONT (CBSLA.com) — Two Riverside County Sheriff’s dispatchers are forever connected after a life-saving transplant.
Jennifer Hall and Michelle Nelson started out as coworkers who were not even friends outside of the office.
When Nelson watched a video posted on Facebook of Hall’s daughter singing in the car, she hoped she could stay alive long enough to watch her own young daughter do the same.
Nelson was one of 100,000 people in the United States in desperate need of a kidney. The 35-year-old mom was placed on a waiting list, and knew it could take years — time she didn’t have — to find a donor.
“I had that feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to see my daughter grow up,” Nelson said. “I wasn’t going to be able to spend the time that you want to spend with your husband.”
She said she spent a lot of time thinking about death.
“I would tell my coworkers that, you know I’ve worked so hard to set up my retirement,” Nelson said. “And I’m thinking okay, I’m not even going to make it to then.”
Nelson also told coworker Hall, who posted the video of her daughter, about her own hopes for the future.
Something inside 36-year-old Hall told her she needed to help Nelson. Though the two weren’t close friends, they had worked together for years at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The day after Thanksgiving, Nelson received a simple message:
“I don’t know where you’re at in the kidney search, but I wanted to know how to go about getting tested for you,” Hall wrote.
“I couldn’t think of any reason not to,” Hall told KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz. “After thinking it over, there really wasn’t.”
According to the National Kidney Association, an estimated 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney. Last year only 14,000 received a transplant.
Three weeks ago, Hall underwent the surgery to donate her kidney to her longtime coworker and fellow mom.
“Now Jen is like a sister to me,” Nelson said. “Part of her is in me now, so we’ll always be connected.”