By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4)– A Colorado woman received a new chance at life recently, thanks to a once-anonymous kidney donor.
Diana Pratt of Colorado Springs was one week away from needing dialysis, when she learned a kidney match was found for her in Wisconsin.
The donor was later identified as Tracey Hulick.
“I recognized early on, I thought it would be so natural to donate,” Hulick told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Hulick said she first gained interest in donating a kidney when she was in sixth grade. A classmate gave a presentation on the benefits of helping others, and she was sold on the idea.
More than a decade later, Hulick was listening to a podcast. The podcast was discussing the fortune of good health, and how much those without good health would pay to have what others did.
“It was that day I called the transplant center,” Hulick said. “I never planned on meeting the person (who I was helping.) I thought, ‘Here’s my kidney do what you want with it, you don’t owe me anything.’”
However, Pratt wanted to reach out to the person who saved her life.
“She did so much for me,” Pratt said.
Pratt sent a letter to Hulick, from Colorado to Wisconsin. Hulick and Pratt started to exchange messages, and finally agreed to meet.
Pratt said she wanted to meet the person who saved her life. The duo met Friday afternoon in Denver, at Porter Hospital, where Pratt received the donation.
It was also at Porter, where Pratt’s husband Herbert donated his kidney. He donated it on the same day his wife received hers. And, in honor of Hulick, he donated it without knowing where it would go.
“To donate to somebody you don’t know where it is going to go, who it is going to go to, it is selfless,” Pratt said.
Surgeon Min Yoo of Porter Hospital told CBS4 there are nearly 100,000 people in the United States waiting for a kidney transplant. However, only 20,000 kidneys were donated in 2017, including those from the deceased. Nearly 6,000 of those donations came from living donors.
Those involved in the Pratt family’s donation process said they wanted this story to start a chain reaction. They hoped those with two healthy kidneys would consider randomly donating theirs, in order to help those who are in need.
“Thank you isn’t enough. It really isn’t,” Pratt said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.