A Minnesota mother has donated her kidney to a firefighter as a thank you for saving her daughter two years ago.
Becca Bundy called 9-1-1 one night in August 2016 when her one-year-old, Hadley, had a shock seizure at home.
Bill Cox, 66, a firefighter who trained in first aid, responded to the call, and managed to stabilize the child before an ambulance arrived.
‘He seemed to care, it wasn’t just another call,’ Becca told KARE 11, a local TV network.
Two years later, last October, Becca bumped into Bill at a local fundraiser, where he was tending the bar and wearing a bright green t-shirt that said: ‘My Name is Bill. I’m in end stage KIDNEY FAILURE And in need of a KIDNEY.’
Within minutes, they realized they shared the same blood type – and Becca didn’t think twice.
Becca Bundy and Bill Cox, who met in 2016 when Becca’s daughter, Hadley, had a seizure, and Bill responded to their call with profound care and kindness. When Becca met him again at a fundraiser, and saw his t-shirt calling for a kidney donor, she immediately volunteered
‘I couldn’t get it out of my head,’ she told KARE 11. ‘I just said, ‘I’m the one and I know it.”
In that conversation, reunited at the fundraiser, Bill explained that he was born with just one kidney, that one was failing, and that he had been on the transplant list since 2017.
He was nearing the point that he would need to go on dialysis, an arduous and tedious, repetitive procedure to do the kidney’s job: removing waste and salt.
There are far more kidney transplants performed a year than other organs (21,167 a year in the US, compared to 8,250 livers, the second most common).
Becca proved to be a match for Bill, and in February 2019 underwent surgery to give him one of her healthy kidneys. Bill was born with only one kidney, which is now failing. Given that he is 66, his prospects for survival on dialysis are low and he desperately needed a transplant
But that does not mean the waiting list is speedy. Unlike other organ failures, kidney patients can use dialysis to survive the wait. And because most people are born with two, there’s a stronger chance of getting a healthy person to donate one.
Finding that willing person isn’t easy, though, and then you have to guarantee that they’re a match.
Short of a volunteer, patients are forced to turn to the waiting list, which has 100,000 patients hoping for one of the roughly 21,000 donor organs a year available for transplant.
Most wait around three to five years for a kidney on the list.
Bill had made t-shirts in a desperate bid to broaden his search.
It worked: Becca realized they were the same blood type, and volunteered on the spot to get tested to see if she could be his donor.
Tests soon revealed she was indeed a match.
‘I can remember us both crying – tears of joy of course – and Bill thanking me,’ Becca told CNN.
Bill and his wife now have drawings by Becca’s daughter Hadley on their fridge at home
Becca said Bill (pictured with his brother and fellow officer Creighton) responded to their call with the utmost care, it wasn’t like any other job
As explained in CNN’s interview with Bill and Becca, dialysis is a taller order for older bodies.
and in February 2019, they underwent the transplant surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center to give Bill one of Becca’s healthy kidneys.
‘She’s my angel. She saved my life and I thought that would be an appropriate little gift for them,’ Cox told CNN.
Both are now recovering, and see each other as family.
Bill has Hadley’s drawings on his fridge, and carved an angel for Becca as a thank you.