VENICE, Fla. — A 45-year-old Florida mother of seven donated one of her kidneys to a 26-year-old co-worker, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported.

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    “I said, heck, he can have one of mine,” Christine Higbee said. “I have seven kids — if I need one, I can borrow one of theirs.”

    Higbee donated her kidney to Zack Pacyna, who has worked with her at a Lowe’s store south of Venice. Pacyna worked with her boyfriend on the overnight shift. But when Pacyna switched to the day shift in May 2015, Higbee wanted to know why, the Herald-Tribune reported.

    She learned that Pacyna had Alport syndrome, a genetic kidney disease. Pacyna was diagnosed with the disease when he was 8 and knew he eventually would need dialysis, the Herald-Tribune reported.

    Even before Pacyna asked about being placed on a transplant list, Higbee started the process to become a donor.

    Higbee donated her kidney to Zack last Dec. 7, at Tampa General Hospital. They’re talking about it now to raise awareness that April is National Donate Life Month.

    “People need to know that it’s not a big deal,” she said.

    For Lowe’s, it has been a fairly big deal. The two were featured in an internal publication that highlighted how Pacnya is barely older than the eldest of Higbee’s children.

    Higbee returned to work five weeks after surgery. Pacyna stayed at home four weeks before coming back; doctors had told them to expect a three-month recovery.

    “I didn’t come back for an extra week — I was like, ‘You’re seriously going to go back to work? You’re going to make me look terrible, stop it,’” Higbee told the Herald-Tribune. “I’m going to look like such a baby.”

     

     

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