South Carolina Paramedic Sheds 125 Pounds to Donate Kidney to 2-Year-Old Niece

“There was nothing that was going to stand in my way.”

Sara Cathey
Photo: Sara Cathey

Last year, when two-year-old Natalyn Mann was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that resulted in the removal of both her kidneys, her whole family took tests to find out who might be a kidney match.

Her aunt, Sara Cathey, turned out to be a perfect match. There was just one problem: Sara's weight. At 270 pounds, the South Carolina paramedic wasn't physically fit enough to make the donation.

"I save complete strangers on a daily basis," Sara told WSAV. "There was nothing that was going to stand in my way."

So, she started trying to lose weight.

"It was all the motivation I needed. I had a great support team, my family 110% stood behind me," the Beaufort EMS worker told the local news station. "My co-workers, they are eating salads with me. The fire department is eating salads with me. The ER department is hiding the snacks so I don't eat them when I come in."

Natalyn even FaceTimed Sara from the hospital to cheer her on during workouts.

In just over a year, Sara shed 125 pounds. Recently, doctors cleared her for the surgery that will save her niece's life. The operation is scheduled for next week.

"She's going to be good," Sara told WSAV. "She's got her second chance and we are doing it. We are doing it."

They both feel so optimistic, in fact, that they're already making plans for after surgery.

"She keeps saying, 'Nope I don't need to eat,'" Sara shared. "'Not until Aunt Sara gives me her kidney. When I get Aunt Sara's kidney, I can have my macaroni.'

"That's all she wants is some macaroni and chocolate and she's going to get it. And I am going to eat some mac and cheese with her," she continued. "I think I've earned some mac and cheese."

You can help with the family's medical expenses here.

Good luck Sara and Natalyn, our hearts are with you.

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