FORSTYH COUNTY, Ga. — It took a lot of courage to share her story, but when she talked to us a year ago, she felt it was perhaps her best chance to save her life.
“There are chances that someone out there will see that and be able to help me,” said the woman, who asked us to call her Sunan for privacy reasons.
In an interview on Channel 2 in 2019, the Forsyth county woman told us she needed a new kidney to live.
Luckily, her angel was watching.
“She’s my angel and she’s my hero,” said Sunan.
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Now a year later, we again talked with Sunan -- and Kelly Benzel. She’s the woman, who saved Sunan’s life.
“It was a Sunday morning,” said Benzel. “We were waiting to go to church, and we always watch Channel 2. Whether you believe me or not, a voice inside me said I can help her. And I blurted out I can help her.”
It turns out, she was right.
Doctors told Sunan and Kelly they were a perfect match for transplant, but suddenly another problem stood in their way.
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“I had gotten the word that I was a match but then there was about a month and a half to two months where COVID hit and they ceased all surgeries. So there was a little bit of a scary moment there,” said Benzel.
“Not knowing when they would reopen the surgeries or the procedures, it made me so nervous,” said Sunan.
Finally in June 2020, three months after they were matched, doctors at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital gave Sunan Kelly’s kidney.
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“It’s just been amazing, spiritually, mentally, physically life changing. I would not change anything,” said Benzel.
After two decades of suffering with a life-threatening condition called IGA Nephropathy, forcing Sunan to spend eight hours a day on dialysis -- a hero, saved her life.
“I’m feeling great. I’m not only living a normal life, I’m thriving. So thanks to my donor, she is my hero.”
If you would like to sign up to be an organ donor, go to organdonor.gov.
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