‘I was going to die and she saved my life’: Cousins reunite after kidney transplant

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Two cousins recently reconnected, two years post kidney transplant.

Bonnie Hensley and Angela Magno are second cousins. The two women drifted during adulthood, but when Hensley saw her cousin’s post on Facebook asking for a kidney, she stepped up to help.

“I think the part that really caught me and set it rolling was that she had a 12-year-old daughter and she really wanted to see her graduate from high school,” said Hensley.

Hensley is a retired lieutenant in the Indianapolis Fire Department and was Magno’s babysitter as a child.

“She decided to give a kidney to not even a close family member but to someone she knew distantly,” said Dr. John Powelson, a transplant surgeon at IU Health. “That’s an extremely altruistic person. If you deal with these people routinely, it’s a privilege. They are very special people.”

Last Thursday, IU Health held a living kidney donor reunion where more than 200 kidney donors were in attendance with their recipients.

At the reunion, Hensley and Magno were given the chance to catch up.

“Just go get tested,” said Hensley. “It doesn’t mean you have to do it next month, it doesn’t mean you have to do it next year, but go get tested just to start it. The path will open up if you’re meant to do it.”

Two years post-transplant, both Hensley and Magno are doing well.

“I was completely terminal,” said Magno. “I was going to die and she saved my life. She totally saved my life.”

To learn more about living kidney donation, click here.