“It was like God handpicked Jen for me before I ever knew her."
Melany Conner, 27, was diagnosed with a life-altering kidney disease shortly after she gave birth to her twin sons three years ago. The disease, chronic interstitial nephritis, proved manageable up until this past October, when her health took a turn for the worse.
“I thought I had the flu,” Conner recalled to Fox News. “But I went to the doctor and I was told that my kidneys were failing.”
The week before Thanksgiving, Conner was told that she needed a transplant. As she anxiously awaited a donor, the young mother of three from Shallowater, Texas, began dialysis.
Meanwhile, in nearby Petersburg, 26-year-old Jen Walker received a “divine calling” to donate a kidney.
“I literally woke up one day and it was on my heart to donate. I don’t know why, it’s just something that I knew I had to do,” Walker, a nurse, told Fox.
In March, after undergoing testing at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, Walker was approved. She was so excited that she shared photos of her acceptance letter on Facebook. That’s when she got a message from an old nursing instructor.
"One of my old nursing instructors from nursing school messaged me and asked if I had anyone specific to donate to and I told them no," Walker told KCBD. "They told me they knew someone who was in desperate need of a kidney."
The person in desperate need was Conner.
Conner and Walker got in contact and were thrilled to find out that they were the same blood type, meaning Walker could be Conner’s perfect match.
"The day it was placed on Jen's heart to donate was actually the exact day I was admitted into the hospital for kidney failure," Conner told KCBD. "At one point I still wasn't aware I was going to get a kidney transplant, but it was like God handpicked Jen for me before I ever knew her."
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But their path hasn’t been without obstacles. Shortly after the pair connected, Walker inquired about donating to Conner directly. Unfortunately, because she was listed as an altruistic donor, Walker was told she would be unable to give her kidney to someone she didn’t share an emotional connection with first.
But that only made them closer.
“Melany was a complete stranger, but now we talk every day, go out for dinner, text about everything—we’ve become best friends through this,” Walker told Fox.
A couple of days later, Conner called Walker with good news: she had been matched with an altruistic donor through a donation center in Fort Worth. That donor, it turned out, was Walker.
"Our entire story has been all about timing,” Conner noted. “This is the cherry on top.”
This week they were approved to move forward with the procedure. They hope to schedule the surgery for June.
“I am nervous, but Melany’s excitement overtakes that,” Walker admitted to Fox. “God is in control.”