DENVER (CBS4) – Two buddies from South Dakota now have a special connection. They came to Denver for a kidney transplant and it’s not the first time the donor has given the gift of life.
Even though he’s healthy, Joel Redman was in the hospital. He was preparing for surgery as a willing volunteer. He’s 35 years old and a single father. He came to Denver’s Porter Adventist Hospital with his friend and co-worker, James Olson.
Unlike Redman, Olson has been very sick.
“It’s been over a 4-year wait to get a kidney,” Olson said. “I’ve been on dialysis for that long.”
Redman volunteered to be the kidney donor.
“You know he’s a very giving person and I thank God for him every day,” Olson said.
“I just felt that I was just doing what I was supposed to do,” Redman said.
Redman is humble, but he’s got a history of giving.
“My sister had leukemia and I donated stem cells to her,” he said.
His sister is now leukemia free.
Redman’s healthy kidney was removed by a surgeon through tiny incisions in a robot-assisted operation. Olson was hurried into his own operating room. By the end of the day the two buddies had a brand new bond.
“He’s part of my family now and he’s part of me now,” Olson said.
Redman hopes his story will inspire others.
“I just wish somebody else out there would see the same thing and do it,” Redman said. “Don’t be scared, you can help someone else give someone else a life.”
Both Redman and Olson will take some time off to recover and then plan to head back to work. They work at the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer, S.D.