“It’s a long process,” says Sweeney. “I’m over here jumping through hoops while her kidney failure is getting worse. I hit a really low point when they said I had to do a liver biopsy, because, you know, three months in and what if there's something wrong and I'm not able to donate now?”
But after seven long months of tests and deteriorating health, the two got word that the surgery was a go … maybe.
“Up to the day of surgery, we didn't know if they were going to go through with it or not,” says Williams. “We're both sitting in rooms next to each other. And they’re like, ‘There's just one number that's askew. We’re not sure.’ Finally, at the last minute, they decided to go through with it. I see her going down the hall and said, ‘Okay, game on.’”
Sweeney’s surgery went so smoothly that she was out in the recovery room before they had even taken Williams in for prep. “She came down and saw me in recovery in a wheelchair,” she says. “I wasn't even upstairs yet.” But it wasn’t long before Williams did go upstairs, where doctors replaced her failing kidney with one that worked—a gift from her good friend and coworker.
“I know this sounds cliché,” says Williams, “but in the Bible, when it says treat your body as a temple? That's true. If you don't take care of your body, everything just falls apart.”
September 4th, 2019, marked the one-year anniversary of the kidney transplant surgery, and the two are still in awe that it happened at all. “You know, to me, it's a miracle,” says Williams.
“It was life changing for her,” adds Sweeney, “but it was for me, too.”
“It gave me my life back—literally,” says Williams. “She is my hero.”
If you have questions or wish to learn more about organ donation and how it works, visit organdonor.gov.