INDIANOLA, Iowa -- A mother of two received the gift of life from a stranger this month. Now, for the first time in years, Emily Roush is starting to feel normal.
"1999 was the last time I had normal kidney function," the 39-year-old said.
Roush spent about nine months on the transplant waiting list. A dozen family members and friends were tested to see if they were a donor match, but no luck.
Then Larkin Williams entered the picture.
"I have always wanted to donate a kidney," explained Williams.
She calls it her "weird obsession." About three weeks after starting her job at Westview Care Center in Indianola, Williams saw a flyer in the break room about her new co-worker.
"She needed help and I wanted to help her," Williams remembered.
It was as simple as that. Helping comes as second nature to the mother of two and certified nursing assistant. Her donation caught Emily off guard.
"I'll fully admit that if I had been healthy, I don't think I would have donated a kidney," said Roush.
On March 9, both women went under the knife.
"After I woke up, a few hours into my room, I was thinking, 'Oh I'm really regretting this.' But then I found out that she was doing really well and her kidney function and I was like OK, that makes it all worth it," said Williams.
Strangers no more, the two mothers now share a bond that will last a lifetime.
April is Donate Life Month, a time to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. There are currently 616 Iowans are on the waiting list.