She says she was called to give the gift of life. A local woman stepped up to be a living donor for her friend's dad. After learning he needed a kidney, she prayed for him but never thought about getting tested to be a living donor.
Now they're celebrating a lifelong bond neither of them ever imagined.
"She came to me and said that they received some really devastating news that her stepfather, Mike, needed a kidney transplant," Kendra Swift said.
Kendra Swift is friends with Mike Lee's stepdaughter. After learning what the family was going through, Kendra just kept them in her prayers until one day she says an encounter with God stopped her in her tracks.
"I was actually getting ready that morning and I kept hearing this voice go through my head that kept telling me I was a perfect match and I was like, 'That's the strangest thing that's ever happened to me,'" Kendra said.
Kendra says she wasn't crazy, she was called. It took her two years to answer the call. Late last year she started the journey to get tested to confirm what she already knew: she was a perfect match for Mike. She documented her journey on video to later show Mike what it took to get here.
"First of all, she saved my life. Beyond that, she has brought me to a point where I can live life normally both for myself and for my family," Mike said.
Mike was diagnosed with kidney failure and had been sick for three years. He spent nine hours a day on dialysis. He was placed on the deceased donor list and seven living donors got tested but none of them worked out. Kendra's left kidney was it.
"I just am filled with gratitude for what she has done for me. I'm just grateful and I will be eternally grateful."
St. Vincent transplant surgeon Dr. Islam Ghoneim says each donor and recipient story is different but this one truly touched him.
"I think it kind of best reflects the breadth of what it is to be truly human and nothing defines the genuine goodness in people's hearts than the story of selfless donation," Ghoneim said.
Kendra dropped more than 30 pounds to make sure she was giving Mike the best kidney. They traveled to Chicago last week to participate in the Guinness World Record competition for the most living kidney donors to gather at the famous kidney-shaped structure, the Cloud Gate--also known as "the bean."