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Holiday Miracle: Franklin woman near perfect match, gives best friend life saving kidney

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 7:17 PM EST
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FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) - A heartwarming story this holiday season, a woman from Franklin needed a kidney transplant, and it turns out one of her best friends was a perfect match.

For years now, they’ve formed a special bond. “We met in 2015. I found out our stories are really similar, we’re both single moms of girls, and our girls are within a couple of years of each other,” April Sermons said.

Sermons works at Luttrell Staffing Group, while Denita Brady used to work down the street at Franklin Precision Industry, which is a client of Luttrell Staffing Group. That is how the two met.

After several trials and tribulations, Brady learned in 2019 that she had an autoimmune disorder.

“It’s called vasculitis, (it) had slowly and silently been attacking my kidneys the whole time, and by the time they found it, it was stage five,” Brady explained. She knew she would have a long road ahead.

“It all came to a head finally in September of 2019, I wound up in the ICU. I was in complete fluid overload, very near death,” she said. Brady said she even prepared her daughter for a possible life without her mother.

Throughout all of the trips to the hospital, and working in between, Sermons was there for her friend the whole time. “She and I talked every day almost,” Brady said.

Brady turned to dialysis in October of 2019, but it’s not the most sustainable treatment. “It’s been a blessing and a curse,” she said. “I mean it’s saved my life but it’s been very difficult to endure.”

In January of 2020, Brady began the process of getting on the organ donor transplant list. She said that was the only option left unless she wanted to stay on dialysis.

“People can live on it 20 years, but I personally don’t know how because it’s difficult, you know, so transplant was the ultimate goal,” Brady said.

Without telling anyone, Sermons started getting tested to see if by any slim chance she was a match.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be a match,” Sermons explained. “I knew that there was a reason, I knew there was a reason this was so heavy on my heart. This is why I met her, this is why we are so close.”

Then one day, she received the news, that she was a near-perfect match. “The transplant coordinator called me, and the first thing she said to me was, ‘how are you related to her?’ Sermons said. “The transplant coordinator herself started tearing up on the phone with me. She was like, ‘this doesn’t happen you guys are it’s like a 98% match.’”

From there, it was time to tell Brady the news. They said it was an emotional conversation, to know that Brady would live a healthier life. Not only were they a near-perfect match, but Sermons was willing to go through the process without hesitation.

“People ask me, ‘why would you do this?’ I look at them and I say, ‘why wouldn’t?’ If I can give someone the gift of life,” Sermons said.

The two will now have an even closer bond forever. “The bible says greater love has no one than to lay down their life for a friend, and she’s living proof of that every day,” Brady said.

Sermons encourages others to consider being a living organ donor. “You need to research the Living Donor Program,” she said. “I had no idea, there’s like 90,000 people waiting for a kidney.”

On the other hand, Brady encourages everyone, especially women, to always advocate for their physical health, if they know something is wrong.

“Not to say that there aren’t amazing doctors out there because there are,” she explained. “But, unfortunately, just with every other profession, doctors are busy, and sometimes they just assume that things are okay.”

Brady also said that the American Kidney Fund has been a valuable resource for her. The non-profit helps those living with kidney disease by providing them with financial support when it comes to medical bills. They also work to assist research efforts and more. Brady said if you are looking to give back this holiday season, the American Kidney Fund does a lot to help patients around the country.

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