Beyond the Card: How One Decision Turned Coworkers into Family

Our everyday actions – big or small – have the ability to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. My philosophy is that no matter the size of the impact, it’s important. While I’ve never hesitated to help people out in small ways, nothing can compare to one of the biggest moments of my life. Two years ago, I decided to give one of my organs to a coworker’s husband.  

Deirdre (Dee) and I have worked together at the Blue Care Network call center in Southfield for 16 years (an accomplishment in itself these days!). To say we are coworkers would be an understatement, we have always been great friends, but neither of us had any idea just how close we would become.

In 2012, Dee’s husband Danny was told it was critical he get a kidney transplant and it could take upwards of 10 years on the kidney recipient list before receiving one. Their only hope was to get a kidney directly from a donor. Simultaneously, I was attempting to donate bone marrow to a young lady – a process two years in the making. After a rigorous two years, the bone marrow transplant did not come to fruition. I broke down. I didn’t understand how all of my efforts and good intentions ended with nothing to show.

I went into work the following day knowing that my coworkers would be there to support me. After talking with Dee I realized I had a second chance to donate – I was going to give Danny my kidney. While Dee and Danny were shocked and overjoyed by my decision, I was calm and collected believing this was the reason the bone marrow donation didn’t work out, this was my purpose.

A few months after making that choice, I was rolled into the operating room. While I was nervous, my faith reminded me I was meant to help Danny. The surgery went well and Danny and I are both on the mend. Danny’s kidneys are functioning at 100 percent, something the doctor was skeptical about given our different builds – Dee says this can be attributed to me being such a strong individual. My recovery has been a little slower, but I’m finally able to get back to my regular exercise routine and am feeling like myself again. Regardless of the physical pain, I am forever grateful I could help Danny. I even call him my brother now.

One of the most empowering parts of our recovery process was the outpouring of love that came from our Blue Care Network coworkers and leadership. Our entire team filled up the waiting room and sent over meals during the procedure.

My biggest hope is that others around us are inspired to make a difference in their own way—especially through donation. You never know what will happen tomorrow, but if you’re healthy today, why not choose to make that impact on someone else’s life?

Interested in learning more about being an organ donor? Click here to learn more about kidney donation or get involved.

Learn more about Angela and Deirdre’s journey here.


This post is part of a storytelling series we call, “Beyond the Card.” These stories will feature Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members, employees, and communities who are making meaningful differences throughout our state.

We invite you to follow Beyond the Card stories here atMIBluesPerspectives.com and through the hashtag, #BeyondtheCard on our social channels. If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to contact us at stories@bcbsm.com.

 

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