Today nearly 3,000 Carolinians are waiting for organ transplants and this year alone, several hundred of them will die before they get one. We have been following the story of one local man whose wait is finally over. Last month Ben Harper was so sick and weak he could barely walk. His kidneys were failing. He says if he did not receive a kidney he would have died. Now, just 3 weeks after receiving his new kidney, Ben Harper is back to normal. He is busy baking for his family, taking the stairs, and working in the yard. He says he feels like a million bucks! While many people will never meet their donor, Ben has a special relationship with his. Sherry Pridgen is one of his closest friends. Sherry says, "I know that Ben was in Vietnam. I know that everyday he gave his life for me when he was there. Donating a kidney would be something I could do to show my gratitude to him for serving our country and risking his life everyday." The heart on Sherry Pridgen's license means she is an organ donor when she dies, but after meeting Ben Harper she decided to be a living donor." Sherry says, "You know that you can have a fulfilling life yourself without two kidneys, as well as give someone who may not be able to live very long the life that they can enjoy too." The kidney transplant surgery lasted about 4 hours and there were no complications. Harper says, "When I woke up in the ICU I felt good light and you could just feel the poison going out of your body." Now he feels better than ever. He says, "I'll be playing with my grand kids for a long time now because I'm going to live another 20 years now." Ben and Sherry are sharing their story to inspire others. They want to demonstrate how easy it is to save a life. They have already inspired one person to be a kidney donor. Ben's daughter Ally is in the process of putting herself on the donor list so she too can help save a life.
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