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Woman's friend discovers she's a donor match for a kidney

Delores Long is at home recovering after donating her kidney to her friend Sue Rigney. (Image WTVC)

Imagine sitting just two rows away from a friend at church, only to find out you're their match for a kidney transplant.

The odds are astounding! According to the National Kidney Foundation, 13 people die each day waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn introduces us to a woman who has given so much of her time, money and now her organs to help her church family.

This week's Pay It Forward takes us near Cleveland where Sue Rigney is recovering after a kidney transplant.

About a month ago, she was on dialysis three days a week. Her energy was fading and so was hope she would find a donor.

That's when her friend Delores Long said, "enough is enough." She got tested and found out she was a match.

Sue Rigney is vibrant and full of energy today cooking soup after her kidney transplant. "Delores, I will forever be thankful for, she is my angel," said Rigney.

A few weeks ago, Sue only had the strength to make it to Sunday service at Hopewell Church of God in Cleveland. It's the place she and Delores cook together for the community every week.

That's where we met their other friend, Reta Moore, who nominated Delores for Pay It Forward. "This is where Delores sits, she's sit here for about 14 years or more, and this is where Sue sits," Reta showed us at the church.

We gave Reta $500 cash and followed her to Delores' front door. "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, I love you," said Delores.

"Delores, on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I want to Pay It Forward to you, for having such a giving heart, hold out your hand, now you can get your yard fixed, love you, you are beautiful!" said Reta.

In addition to donating her kidney, Delores donated money to build a pavilion at church in honor of her late husband, and she plays the church organ.

She showed us the dozens of cards her church friends have sent wishing her a quick recovery, and the food they've dropped off in the kitchen.

"It's overwhelming..." said Delores. "A part of you is now inside of her forever," said Jessica Harthorn. "I feel like we are on this journey together. As I get stronger, she gets stronger too," added Delores.

"Her giving me a kidney is life, and I will pray for Delores the rest of her days," said Sue.

Sue says she finally has the energy to visit her sister in Mississippi this summer. She hasn't been able to travel there in three years.




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