When longtime coworkers Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis passed by each other at work, they would smile politely and say hello, oblivious to the fact that they'd one day team up to save their husbands' lives.
Both men were suffering from kidney disease and in desperate need of transplants.
The women, who worked together in the IT department at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for 10 years, didn't know about their shared struggle. But after finding out in 2019, they quickly became friends and confidants, sharing the good and the bad that came with their emotional journeys.
But then a five-minute bathroom conversation last September changed everything. As they washed their hands and casually discussed the donor process, Wimbush looked at Ellis and asked her husband's blood type. Ellis' husband is O negative, a rare blood type that's difficult to match. Wimbush, whose blood type is O, was compatible. And Ellis, blood type A, was a match to Wimbush's husband -- type AB.
"All that was going through my head is, 'What if we can donate our kidneys to each other's husbands?' I could have never imagined it," Wimbush told CNN. Wimbush returned to her desk and called her donor coordinator to begin the process of confirming that the pair were a match for their spouses.