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.

Comments (7)
  1. Tanya Thyfault says:

    Wow!!! How Amazing!!! Thank You Joel. Congratulations James!! Best wishes to you both as you recover!!

    My Niece, Cassie, gave me the”Gift of Life”–a new kidney a year ago!! Life Is Grand!!!

    Thank You To All Organ Donors!! God Bless You!!!!!

  2. Jodi Olson says:

    Tanya, how beautiful !! Give Cassie a huge hug from us !! Blessings to you…..
    Jodi – Wife of receipient

  3. Tom Wilson says:

    What a great story, everyone. Both Jim and Joel are coworkers of mine at Crazy Horse Memorial and everyone at work is so excited to hear all this wonderful news.

  4. Carol R says:

    God bless him. We should all be so giving.

  5. Susan Beesley says:

    Wow I know both of you and I am so touched by this story hats off to Joel and James you are a treasure to have on this earth I will see you both real soon. Love Ya Susan

  6. Meredith waterman says:

    it is wonderful! i was glad he got the kidney!!!!!!!!!!
    ~step-daughter of receipient~

  7. Holly says:

    I had a kidney transplant 12 years ago. It has since then failed but what a gift it was. I received a cadaver kidney and it lasted eight years. Anyone who is willing to give a kidney is a hero plain and simple

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