DRACUT (CBS) – This Thanksgiving is taking on a special meaning for a Dracut woman.

After more than a year waiting for a kidney transplant, Olga Gauthier turned to Facebook in search of a donor. She came away with a new life and a new best friend.

That friend, Shannon Goveia was a stranger when she first saw the “Kidney for Olga” Facebook page last January.

“I said, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I just feel like it’s going to be me.’ She goes, ‘I have the same feeling it’s going to be you,” Goveia explained.

After 18 months on the transplant waiting list, Gauthier’s kidney disease was worsening and she was unsure she’d ever get a match.

She was undergoing daily dialysis this past summer when Goveia called to say she was forging through the testing process to donate one of her two kidneys.

“I just felt like it was going to be a letdown and it just kept going. She’d send me messages like, ‘ I passed this test, I passed that test.’ I was like ‘okay, maybe there is a chance,’” Gauthier said.
They were a match. Just two days before the transplant at Lahey Clinic, they met face-to-face for the first time, and chatted like old friends.

“It was great. It was the best feeling in the world. I would do it all over again if I could, absolutely,” Goveia said.

There are nearly 95,000 people who need kidney transplants now, and more than 4000 die each year waiting for one that never comes.

For that reason, both women are hoping to encourage others to become living kidney donors.

“It’s wonderful to have somebody step forward for you,” Gauthier said.


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