Her selfless act helped save four lives.
Advertisement

When Alli Shappell was a junior starring in her high school’s production of the play Steel Magnolias, she was inspired. Shappell was playing Shelby—the role Julia Roberts played in the film version— a young woman who suffers from serious complications from diabetes. "[In] one of the scenes, she has a diabetic attack, which I didn't even know was a thing,” Shappell told Kansas City’s local Fox affiliate, WDAF. “I had to look up videos about it, and it's so scary."

Playing the role helped Shappell realize something—when she grew up she wanted to be a kidney donor. "So many people are born with diabetes," Shappell told WDAF, “and they didn't ask for that, and it just really affected me. This month, she made her high school dream come true, donating a kidney and saving four lives, including her pastor’s, in the process.

The 21-year old nursing student decided to make her life-saving donation six months ago when she found out that her childhood pastor was on the verge of kidney failure. She volunteered to give him one of her kidneys, but when they went to the hospital for tests, she found out she wasn’t a match. Instead of giving up, Shappell decided to get involved with a chain donation program where she would donate a kidney to a stranger, who would donate a kidney to another person in need, and on down until someone who was a match gave a kidney to her pastor.

To connect Shappell to her pastor, eight people had to be involved: four donors, including Shappell, and four recipients, which included her pastor. While Shappell didn’t know the person who got her kidney, she was thrilled at the result. “I think it made me more excited just because, in a way, I feel like I got to help more people,” Shappell told WDAF. Now, she hopes her story inspires others to consider becoming organ donors. Perhaps watching Steel Magnolias is a good place to start.