Scottsdale mother gets kidney transplant from church acquaintance

In December, we introduced you to a Scottsdale mother in need of a living kidney donor.  Her friend was on a mission to help her.

After our story aired, she says many viewers came forward, willing to donate.

The woman ended up getting a kidney from an acquaintance of hers, who turned out to be a perfect match.

Three years ago, the mother of three was diagnosed with a kidney disease and ultimately kidney failure.  Some people die waiting on the transplant list.  She was hoping to find a living donor and she did -- at church.

"To have your life back and years extended to you.. it's priceless," said Vanessa Bland.

The last time we saw Bland, she was in kidney failure, undergoing dialysis eight hours a day.  She was on a kidney transplant list when a friend came to FOX 10, hoping to find her a living donor.

"After the story aired, I was really touched by our city. So many people did contact me and Mayo. I actually made wonderful contacts of other kidney recipients," said Bland.

About a month later, Bland says an acquaintance from church named Ginny offered her kidney. They were a match and the transplant was done in January.

Five months later, "I'm building back up and every day I wake up and I feel better and better. It's exciting, it's thrilling," she said.

Bland says her donor was back on her feet in a week or two, but for her, the road to recovery is longer.

"The risk of rejection drops off in a year, so we're still in a period waiting to see the kidney won't get rejected."

Still, Bland and her family say the new kidney is life changing. She is off dialysis completely.

"Before, she couldn't really have that much fun with us. She couldn't swim with us, or go biking, but she got her kidney transplant, so now she can do all kinds of stuff with us," said Shea Bland.

"We went on a date for the first time a couple weeks ago. We couldn't decide where to go because it seemed like forever since we had gone out," said Vanessa's husband, Rob Bland.

Ginny didn't want to talk on camera, but allowed us to show photos.

"Ginny is a very humble person and she didn't do this to be made over and she didn't want people to say what a good person she is and all that," said Vanessa. "I don't have words to express my gratitude and thankfulness. She was willing to give me the gift of life."

The National Kidney Foundation is hosting an event at the Montelucia this weekend to benefit kidney patients in Arizona.

The Bland family wanted to thank friends and family for their support.

National Kidney Foundation of Arizona's Prom Redux
May 30
Omni Resort & Spa at Montelucia
4949 East Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Tickets: (602) 840-1644

V's Kidney Transplant Story

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