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Kidney donation bonds two Colorado best friends

Kelsey and Colin Pre-Op.jpg
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jul 02, 2024

DENVER — Two best friends are now forever bonded thanks to a lifesaving kidney transplant.

Kelsey Anderson, 34, and Colin Giglio, 37, practically grew up together.

“We were always pretty close,” said Anderson. “We went to the same church, our sisters were friends. We ended up going to the same college and grew really close there. Then after college, ended up working for the same company.”

Kidney donation bonds two Colorado best friends

Their friendship was put to the test a few years ago when Giglio shared some big news.

"When he told me, I thought he was joking because he does that. He was like, "Oh yeah, my kidney is failing." I was like, "Wait, are you serious?"” Anderson recalled.

Giglio was born with a horseshoe-shaped kidney that never worked at 100 percent and only dropped in function over time. He eventually went on home dialysis and the transplant waiting list.

"I was pretty bummed at that point,” said Giglio.

Little did he know, Anderson would save his life. After seeing her husband donate a kidney, she wanted to do the same for Giglio.

After a blood test, it was determined that Anderson and Giglio were a match.

“I immediately turned to my husband and was like, I have to give my kidney to Colin,” said Anderson.

Nov. 13, 2023, was the big day.

"I was in the hospital only three days including the surgery day,” said Giglio.

The best friends got to see each other in the hospital a few days after surgery before being discharged. Giglio said he now has his life back.

"I feel great. Like even pain-wise, there's nothing,” said Giglio.

At last check, his blood cell count skyrocketed to a healthy, normal level.

“I can't tell you how much I really appreciate what you did. I think it's excellent, awesome. I'll take good care of it,” Giglio told Anderson.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100,000 people are on active waiting lists for organs. Living donors donate approximately 6,000 organs per year on average.

Nearly 2,000 people are on the waiting list in Colorado, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Gina Hilcher, nurse and living donor coordinator at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, said the supply doesn't meet the demand of people who need a kidney. She said it's a much simpler process than people realize.

"You can easily live with just one kidney,” said Hilcher. “We truly make sure that if a person is going to donate, it is safe for them to do and we anticipate what their life is going to be like in 20 years when we make that decision.”

Anderson said she would do it again if she could.

"It was an easy decision. To help increase somebody else's life, it didn't change mine at all, I would do it 100 times again if I had 100 more kidneys,” said Anderson.


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