ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - Two CentraCare employees will be forever connected thanks to a decision to give.

Marianne Steichen has been battling kidney disease for 17 years and has been on a kidney transplant waiting list since 2018.

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She says in April she learned a coworker of hers had decided to give her the gift of life.

I've had other people get tested before and it didn't work out, so I was hopeful but I wanted until she got the official word. Once she did I started to really think this was going to happen and I was going to get my life back.

Kimberlie Gramsey says she was touched after seeing Steichen's story posted on CentraCare's website.

She says it was about a year later when she decided to see if she was a match.

I knew there was a reason she was on my heart and mind for a year. I was constantly going back to the idea of donating. Now we were not an exact match, but we were able to be paired inside the national kidney donation registry and matched up that way.

Gramsey says because of the pairing program, Steichen was finally able to receive her new kidney. The surgery was performed back in September and both are doing well in their recovery.

Steichen says it's been an emotional journey and she will be forever grateful for the generosity Gramsey showed her family.

I am thankful every day for her.

The easiest way to become an organ donor is by registering online, or by checking the box on your driver's license.


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