BLOG: Christmas 'baby' gives gift of life - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: Christmas 'baby' gives gift of life

Kristen Corby Kristen Corby

The Christmas gathering at the Corby home could have looked a lot different if it hadn’t been for a very unusual gift. A gift given by a real Mo’s Hero. 

Kristen Corby does not want to be called a hero, but she has always felt her life had some purpose she just couldn’t figure out what it was. In her teens, the New Jersey native, who now lives in Wesley Chapel, used to tease her mom about being born on Christmas Day.
“When I was younger I used to tell my mother jokingly, ‘Jesus didn't do anything great until he was in his thirties and being as we share a birthday, I had time to do my greatness!’ I never knew in what form, I just knew it would be something,” Kristen told me.
“My great grandmother died on Christmas and then I was born on Christmas, the first girl in 26 years on either side of my family, so I do believe I was destined for something!  When my brother died suddenly I knew I had to do something significant with my life, because he was the most selfless person I ever knew and I wanted to honor him,” Corby said.

So how and when did she find her purpose? It started when her mother-in-law, Donna, was in really bad shape. Kidney disease was taking its toll on her body and doctors knew she’d need a transplant.

"Both my husband, and my brother-in-law immediately went to see if they were a match, but they weren’t. I was tested, but I wasn’t a match either. Then I learned about this amazing ‘donor pairing’ program,” Corby told me.

This kidney-paired donation program, as Kristen explained, pairs a living donor who is medically able to donate a kidney to a loved one but they are not a good match. So the donor and recipient are paired with another donor/recipient pair that meet each other's needs. 

"We signed up for the program on a Friday, and got the call Monday they found matches in need and willing to donate in Atlanta. It's ironic that my mother died of complications from diabetes and the person who got my kidney was in renal failure because of diabetes. It was just meant to be!" Kristen told me.

"I feel truly blessed to have had this chance, to know my mother-in-law is stronger than ever with her new kidney, and to know I spared a family
of the possible sorrow if this man had not lived. I know what it's like to have lost three loved ones in such a short period of time. I am so grateful I could help this family avoid that heartache," Kristen explained of the experience.

Kristen wants to be is an educator for this process of kidney donation.

"I now believe it is my job to spread the word and hopefully save more lives! I could never be a doctor and I couldn't save my brother but hopefully I can save others," she said.

"I also believe that lack of education is what scares people and if they knew how simple it was, perhaps they would change their minds. I feel no different yet my mother in law feels a million times better! She has her spunk and energy back, it's so wonderful to see! I regret that I only have but one kidney to give to my fellow man," Kristen explained.

Kristen learned about the living donor program at Wake Forest Baptist. She's grateful to the nurses and all those who lead her
and her mother-in-law Donna in the right direction. She's hoping someone who reads this story might be in the same situation they were in, and consider the pairing program.

Kristen, I know you'll be missing your mom, dad and brother this Christmas, also your birthday, but I'm sure you will be surrounded by so many who are grateful you could give Donna a second chance at life! Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!

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