Mom Donates a Lifesaving Kidney to Firefighter Who Helped Daughter: 'It's a Lifetime Bond'

A Minnesota woman has been able to return a lifesaving favor to a first responder who came to the rescue of her baby daughter.

In August 2016, volunteer firefighter Bill Cox arrived on the scene to treat Becca Bundy’s then 1-year-old daughter, Hadley, who was having a seizure in the family’s northern Minnesota home.

“I got there and helped settle people down until an ambulance could get there and take care of her,” Cox, who was with the Bearville Volunteer Fire Department, told CNN.

Though their meeting was brief, Bundy said the firefighter’s kind demeanor left a lasting impression on her.

“He seemed to care, it wasn’t just another call,” Bundy recalled, according to KARE 11.

In October, Bundy and Cox crossed paths once again, this time at a local bar where he was bartending. It was there that Bundy noticed the heartbreaking message Cox had printed on the bright green shirt he was wearing, which read, “I’m in end-stage kidney failure and in need of a kidney.”

As she would find out, Cox was born with only one kidney and has been waiting for a transplant for two years. He was recently placed on dialysis.

“I couldn’t get it out of my head,” Bundy said. “I just said, ‘I’m the one and I know it.’ ”

While some of the bar’s patrons had offered to be tested to see if they were a match for Cox, none were candidates — that is, until Bundy got tested herself.

“She was a perfect match for me,” Cox, 66, told CNN.

Bundy added, “I can remember us both crying — tears of joy of course — and Bill thanking me.”

The two underwent a successful transplant operation in February at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and now Cox has discontinued dialysis and is spending time with his wife at their lakeside home.

Kidney disease affects some 30 million people in the United States, and nearly 90 percent of people with kidney disease don’t even know they have it, the National Kidney Foundation reports.

About 20 people a day die awaiting organ transplants, according to the American Transplant Foundation, and there are over 115,000 people currently on the waiting list to receive a life-saving organ.

A healthy person can donate a kidney, or a part of their liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow, and make a valuable difference in someone’s life, the foundation says.

“I feel pretty blessed to be chosen to be on his journey with him,” Bundy told KARE 11. “It is that lifetime bond that will never go away.”

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