Family saves woman's life twice through organ donation

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One woman received the gift of life twice from a grieving mother and her late son (KTRK)

Some say home is where the heart is, but for Tina Brown, home is where the kidney is.

A tragic accident killed her 18-year-old son Shane four years ago, but the memories are still painful today.

"It was less than a quarter of a mile from our house," Brown said. "I knew it was him as soon as I heard the first ambulance go by. I still kept calling hoping he would pick up."

Once she found out it was Shane, she rushed to the hospital.

"They pretty much told me he was the sickest person in the hospital and that I probably would not be taking him home," Brown remembered.

They were right. Brown never took her son home. Instead, doctors took five of his organs to donate to five strangers.

Rachel Anzaldua was one of the recipients. She desperately needed Shane's liver after contracting Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion years before.

"This young man is the one who saved my life. If I hadn't received this liver, I wouldn't be here," Anzaldua said.

When Brown reached out to Anzaldua months later asking if they could meet, Anzaldua was more than willing. Almost immediately, the two moms connected in a way neither could have imagined.

"We meet up for dinner or we get together and have BBQ and cook outs, we hang out together and it's awesome. They're my second family," Brown said.

Just over the last month, they have gotten even closer than before. Anzaldua's kidney failed last year, and she ended up on a transplant list again. Without hesitation, Brown stepped up and donated hers.

"She told me also, that she wanted to give me her kidney because this was the only way that she could be close to her son again," Anzaldua said.

Surgery day was in January, and as the two friends prepared to share the greatest gift, excitement turned to tears and one last thought crossed Anzaldua's mind.

"I thought, Shane, mom is coming home," Anzaldua said.

For more information on organ donation, visit LifeGift.org and LivingBank.org
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