PITTSBURGH, Penn. (WSVN) — Rebekah Ceidro was scrolling through her Facebook feed when she came across a friend’s post, saying he needed a new kidney.
Her longtime friend and co-worker, Chris Moore, had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, with doctors giving him six months to a year to live.
Ceidro told Runner’s World that, since Moore was such a private person on social media, she knew he had to be desperate to post about his situation. So she sent him a message, offering to donate one of her kidneys.
“I immediately thought, ‘Okay, what can I do?” Ceidro told the magazine. “I would hope that if I were in the same situation, someone would do it for me.”
Ceidro visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for testing to make sure she was a good candidate, ensuring her blood type matched and family history was clean.
There was just one problem: her weight. At 218 pounds, doctors worried about complications from surgery, and said it was too risky for her to donate at that weight.
“They pretty much told me point blank that I needed to lose weight if I was serious about donating my kidney,” she told Runner’s World. “I had a really girly moment of, ‘Wow, that was hurtful.’ Was I really too fat to save someone’s life? It felt like they were challenging my decision, so I looked at them and said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll lose the weight.’”
Ceidro decided to take up running, joining her work’s 5K race just two weeks later. While she found the run difficult, she vowed to keep running until she could do a 5K every day, all the while thinking about her friend in need.
“I woke up every day to do this because it was something I had to do for Chris. If he could wake up and survive, I could stop being lazy and wake up to run.”
Ceidro ran six days a week, and began to include weight training as well. And though she only needed to lose 18 pounds to qualify as a kidney donor, she’s lost 38 pounds so far. And while she originally struggled to finish a 5K race, she has since crossed the finish line at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
She says she started out to help save her friend’s life, and managed to extend her own in the process.
Doctors expect to perform the kidney transplant this summer.
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