SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On any given day there are around 75,000 people on the active waiting list for organs, according to the CDC.
Living donors provide on average about 6,000 organs per year.
Curtis Branson says he has had diabetes for about 14 years. He says when he found out he had kidney failure, it was a complete shock.
“I really didn’t have too much of a life going into dialysis, you know three days a week. I couldn’t do stuff with my grandkids. I had to tell them no. It was tough,” Branson said.
Little did he know, a coworker was about to change his life forever.
“I noticed he wasn’t around as much anymore and I started asking questions, ‘What’s going on with Curt?’ And yea, found out he needed help and I wanted to do anything I could to help him out,” Hannah Bovee said.
Bovee says the two become friends while working together, and that friendship later turned into a lifelong bond.
“I told her about it and it’s like instantly she said, ‘I’m going to donate for you.’ And I went, ‘What?'” Branson said.
Bovee didn’t hesitate to help her friend, and now six months later, the two are feeling great.
“I don’t even notice anything, I’m doing really good,” Bovee said.
Dr. Larry Burris says a laparoscopic surgery is performed during a kidney transplant resulting in a smaller incision, with a shorter recovery.
“Typical stay in a hospital after a surgery is maybe two to four days and then recovery really depends on what you do for a living and what you do in your time off. So people can sometimes return to work within a few weeks or a month,” Burris said.
Curtis waited about a year and a half for a kidney, but doctors say the wait list can be as long as a decade.
Branson says some of his friends have been on dialysis for much longer, and he’s hopeful they will receive a gift like this.
“To save your life, it’s hard to tell somebody thank you just by saying thank you. You know, there’s more to it than that,” Branson said.
But a ‘thank you’ for Bovee may simply be seeing him live his life again.
“I can play baseball with my grandson. We threw baseball yesterday a whole bunch and played with my granddaughters outside. I can go, I can go to the gym and play basketball now,” Branson said.
For more information on becoming a living donor, click here.