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Anonymous Live Kidney Donor Saves Woman's Life

Right now, more than 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

After one Lewisville mother suffered a personal tragedy, she was inspired to do something to help at least one person on that list.

Susana Margraf says her father didn’t qualify for a kidney donation after his kidneys failed in 2010 and three years later, he decided to stop them. 

Four months later, he was dead.

Margraf wasn’t able to donate a kidney to her dad, but early this year, she went online and started the process to donate one to a stranger.

"I thought about my dad.  I thought about how he passed away and I thought this is my chance to make a difference, this is my chance to make the world a better place and to make someone's world a better world," said Margraf.

Margraf made the decision in January, and in March underwent surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Valene Escobedo, 33, of Amarillo, a former student at West Texas A&M University, majoring in psychology, received that kidney and now dreams of returning to college to complete the degree she walked away from because her own dialysis treatments had become so debilitating.

"They told me that I had a living donor.  I was very happy because it was like a miracle and I'm just grateful for getting a second chance at life," said Escobedo.

On Monday, Escobedo and Margraf met in person.

"Thank you so much," said Escobedo as she embraced Margraf.

According to doctors at UT Southwestern, out of the 19,000 kidney transplants performed in the United States each year, about 5,000 are from live donors.

Even more rare are the kidneys that come from anonymous live donors.

"A family member, work colleague, a random stranger has the ability to save someone's life. You don't get that in medicine. We see a lot of people who don't do well. She saved a life. It's pretty amazing," said Dr. Justin Parekh, abdominal organ transplant surgeon, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

He says the average time on the kidney transplant wait list is five years.

Escobedo waited seven months.

The only request Margraf has of Escobedo is that she pays it forward.

"I will!" said Escobedo.

Read here for more information on becoming a living kidney donor.

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