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CINCINNATI - Go to Tom Hendrix's house in Colerain Township and you'll see his grandchildren playing, laughing and smiling. And, most importantly, you'll see Tom, alive and healthy. Not long ago, Tom worried that would not be the case.
"The only worries that I had at that time was whether I'd be around to see my kids grow up," said Hendrix.
Until a year ago, Tom was biding his time on kidney dialysis. He'd had two kidney transplants, but the last one had failed. So back on dialysis he went and waited. It seemed like the cycle would never end. He needed a donor, but because there are kidney problems in his family, none of them could provide him a new kidney.
Tom nearly gave up hope, and then Jenny Hudson came along.
Jenny works at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. She was impressed with all of the people who came forward to be living kidney donors and decided she wanted to be like them. But with no one to donate to, Jenny offered her kidney to anyone it would match.
Her match just happened to be Tom Hendrix.
"If you're given this opportunity and you have the ability to help someone then how can you not, you know?" asked Hudson. "People would ask me, 'who are you donating to?' and I'd say, 'whoever needs it will get it.'"
The two didn't meet until after the surgery. Total strangers with a strong connection have now become close friends. They go to dinners and movies. Hudson has no family in Cincinnati, Hendrix has plenty.
"I just want to share the rest of my life with her and my family because she is part of my family now," said Hendrix.
"I just found myself now a member of a very large family," said Hudson. "Now I have 15 relatives in Colerain Township."
The transplant saved Hendrix life and made it better. Today, he spends his afternoons with his grandchildren.
"I can walk a mile or two. I can ride my bike for an hour or so," Hendrix says. "I can play golf again and not worry about it. Life is fun again. Life is really fun again."
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