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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

SCRANTON, PA - Registered nurses Lisa Stevens (left) and Kelly Flowers (right) are about to share more than a nursing shift. This Friday, Feb. 13, Kelly will donate her kidney to Lisa, a longtime friend and co-worker at Geisinger-Community Medical Center's Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).

"I heard through the grapevine that Lisa was sick," said Kelly, who has known Lisa for more than 20 years as parishioners at Grace Bible Church in Dunmore, and more than 14 years as Geisinger-Community Medical Center (G-CMC) nurses. "So I went and got the initial labwork done, and found that not only did our blood types match, but I also had four of the six cellular antigens match Lisa's." A six-antigen match is a perfect match, but transplants are frequently successfully performed between people without any matching antigens.

"I was very fortunate to have a number of people offer to donate their kidney to me," said Lisa. "But when I prayed about it, I said, 'God, whoever you have for me, just have them ask me, 'What do I do next?''"

That week, Kelly came up to Lisa and said those exact words.

On Friday, the Transplant Team for Geisinger Health System will perform the transplant surgery at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

"We are always inspired when friends and co-workers decide to donate," said Chintalapati Varma, M.D., Geisinger Health System's Director of Transplant Surgery. "This case illustrates that health care workers truly embody the spirit of giving."

Lisa underwent a kidney transplant 20 years ago - receiving a kidney from her sister-in-law - but that kidney is no longer functioning. She says that kidney donation, and the one scheduled for Friday, are the two best health gifts she's ever received.

Lisa and Kelly encourage anyone considering being a kidney donor to talk to their doctor. "I want everyone to be aware that this might sound like a scary thing, but it's a blessing to share with each other," says Kelly. "Our peace and comfort comes from God's timing - we both find comfort in giving, and comfort in receiving."

"I agree," says Lisa, giving Kelly a fist-bump. "We're the Wonder Twins."

To help with expenses, G-CMC's PACU nurses have established a fund in Lisa and Kelly's names. If you would like to donate, please contact the G-CMC Credit Union at 570.348.2140 or visit 415 Colfax Avenue, Scranton, and ask to contribute to the Lisa Stevens/Kelly Flowers fund. If you are interested in becoming an organ donor, or learning more about organ donation, please call Geisinger's Transplant Services team at 570.271.6214.
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