Danette Jones and Anne Rossi couldn’t have imagined the remarkable connection they would make during a chance meeting last year. They met as volunteers at the – you’ll never guess - Kidney Foundation's "Dining with the Stars."
“In the midst of that conversation, I actually told her I needed a kidney,” Jones said.
“Quite frankly, I said, ‘That's funny,’” said Rossi, ‘because I'm looking to give one away.’”
The women didn’t know if anything would come of it, but Jones felt the need to document their meeting.
“Even though we just spoke briefly, I asked her if I could take a picture of us,” Jones said.
Rossi wrote Jones’ name and number in her program, just in case.
Time passed, and Rossi went about the donor process.
“They asked me if I had anyone I wanted to donate a kidney to,” Rossi said. “I pulled out my folder with Dining with the Stars, read her name and said, ‘Can you look this girl up?’”
Doctors told Rossi she was a match for Jones. Jones will never forget the day she got the call from the hospital.
Jones wrote this in her journal: “Monday, April 10, 2017 -- Thank you, Jesus. On this day I received a call from Christ Hospital that someone wanted to donate a kidney to me. Wow!”
Rossi called Jones to tell her she would be the donor.
“When she called me and told me she was my donor, I said, ‘Can I call you right back?’” Jones said. “And I took my phone and said, ‘Is this us?’”
And that’s how Jones found out that the woman she met in a chance encounter was going to give her a life-saving kidney – something she had waited for for two and a half years.
“I just dropped the phone right here and dropped to my knees and started crying," Jones said.
The two have become dear friends.
“She is my angel on earth,” said Jones. “If not for her, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn’t be able to be around my children, grandkids and friends.”
“It makes me feel good,” said Rossi.
On this World Kidney Day, consider this: One in nine Americans lives with chronic kidney disease. That's 26 million people. So chances are you know someone who's on the path to kidney disease.
A kidney donor can be a family member, or as happened with Jones and Rossi, a stranger willing to help.
Rossi said taking the first step to being a living donor is as simple as a phone call to the National Kidney Foundation at 855-653-2273. She said she was inspired by dialysis patients she worked with over the years.