Arizona mom shares kidney donation story: 'You can save so many other lives'

There's no bigger gift one can give than a life-saving organ, and a Valley mom is sharing her story in hopes more will consider the option.

On a couch with one of her 5 kids, Natalie Davis is recovering from a long road that started on Facebook.

"It said ‘Jennifer needs a kidney,’ so I just scrolled past it. And I went back to it, and I clicked on it. It opened the page, reading comments, and then I went back to scrolling Facebook," Davis said.

She went back to her dog grooming business, but it kept gnawing away at her. So she filled out the form just to see.

"Once you get past the questionnaires, they send your info over and you get set up with appointments to go through all the testing," Davis explained.

Natalie was connected with a living donor mentor: Matthew Cavanaugh, President of the National Kidney Donation Organization.

"2 years since, my life is nothing but even better since I donated," Cavanaugh said.

He says the mentorship is crucial.

"When you talk to someone who's been through it, you realize pretty quickly the risk is low, the upside for someone else is huge, and on a personal level, the reward can be bigger than that," said Cavanaugh. 

Natalie thought her past would prevent her from saving a life.

"I'm a recovered drug addict, so the first thing when they did the surveys and questionnaires, I didn't think I'd be a candidate because I'm a recovered addict," Davis explained.

For most, it's a night in the hospital and a quick recovery. Natalie struggled more with stroke-like symptoms but is now back to being herself again, even with a recovery worse than most. She would recommend it to anyone.

"I really just hope it inspires a lot more people to look into donating, especially being a chain donor," said Davis. "You can save so many other lives by donating just one organ." 

That chain donation she's referring to happened because she wasn't actually a match for the person in the Facebook post. But they entered the process together, and each of them matched with someone else, essentially causing a chain reaction of donations.

You can learn more about organ donations in AZ here: