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Memphis woman receives a new kidney after years of waiting

“When she called back, she said, ‘Ms. McGhee, Happy Birthday. The kidney is yours. My birthday was the following day,” said Chiquita McGhee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chiquita McGhee first started looking for a kidney in 2020, when she was battling lupus and in need of a new one. 

McGhee had lost 85 pounds but needed to lose 26 more to receive a kidney from her living donor.

That is when friends, family, and community members jumped in on Project26 helping McGhee reach her goal.

“After I met my goal, Vera, which was my living donor, we got tested. Come to find out she was not a match for me,” said McGhee. “It was pretty heartbreaking for her and devastating. But for me, I knew that there was still an option. The process of her being my living donor gave me a why. I believe that when you find your 'why' or you realize your 'why' it gives you extra motivation.”

While resting on faith, McGhee found her "why."

“July the seventh, I received a call that it was probably about 12:30 in the morning,” said McGhee. “It said Methodist University…The representative said she said we may have a possible kidney for you.”

"Possible" was all McGhee needed to activate her faith.

“When she said possible, I took it in my mind. It was a definite. That was the answer to my prayers,” said McGhee. “When she called back, she said, ‘Ms. McGhee, Happy Birthday. The kidney is yours. My birthday was the following day.”

Within hours, McGhee was on dialysis and prepping for surgery.

“It hit me that that was my very last dialysis. So, for four years of that, to get to the point where no more was an amazing, amazing experience and amazing moment,” said McGhee. “You fear surgeries. No one likes them. But when I tell you, that one gave me so much life and so much joy…I've been able to live somewhat of a normal life without limitations, just being able to leave work and not have to go to another facility for four more hours for three nights a week.”

It was an amazing feeling with a shadow of grief and gratitude for her deceased donor.

“My heart was for the family. I received new life, but the family was yet grieving. But still, even in their grieving process, they made a decision that their loved one can help so many lives,” said McGhee. “I feel like I've regained life.”

It was the perfect match for a woman of perfect faith.

July 7th is McGhee’s one-year anniversary of her new kidney.

To celebrate, she is releasing a book titled, “The Perfect Match: Building your Faith while You Wait.”

For more information about organ donations, click here.