PORTLAND, Maine — New England Donor Services say more than 110,000 people across the country are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
About 80 percent of those patients need a kidney. The wait to get one can be up to five years. An average of 18 people die each day on transplant lists because of the shortage of donated organs.
Kidney disease has always been part of Shanda Curtin's life, taking her mom when she was just 16.
The disease is hereditary. Last fall, Shanda's symptoms, including fatigue and high blood pressure, were getting worse.
"I knew I needed to find had to find a kidney," Shanda Curtin said.
Shanda opened up to her boss at the Eyecare Medical Group where she works as a nurse. Shortly after announcing the need for a kidney donation at a staff meeting, several employees came forward.
"Hearing the story just something inside me felt I had to help," Lindsey Bouchard said.
When Lindsey Bouchard, an ophthalmology assistant, met Shanda for the first time, both felt an instant connection.
Lindsey turned out to be a match. Nearly four months into the screening process for the transplant and two weeks before Christmas, her home burned down. Despite having to move into a hotel, Lindsey never wavered.
The procedure took place in February and both women got through the operations with flying colors. Isolating at home during the pandemic helped both women recover. Lindsey returned to work earlier this summer, Shanda who is on a number of anti-rejection drugs continues to improve.
Both women were honored by New England Donor Services' workplace recognition program. The non-profit works to save and heal lives through organ and tissue donations.
For information on how you can register to be an organ donor click here.