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Nurse Gives Kidney, Health To Fellow Nurse

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two Minnesota mothers are bonded forever by the gift one gave the other.

“She’s like an angel to me. She’s my angel,” said Vicki Robinson, who found more than a friend when her health was failing.

Tired and sick, Robinson’s doctor told her she needed surgery to make life easier and avoid dialysis. Luckily, she didn’t have to look far to find the person who would help her.

“I said, ‘’I need a kidney,’” Robinson recalled. Her friend, Kari Bouavichith, said she’d give her one of her’s.

“I feel like I’m going to give her a second chance of a healthier life,” Bouavichith said.

Initially, however, Robinson thought Bouavichith was joking. It was when Robinson started crying one day that Bouavichith told her: “I don’t need two kidneys. I’ll go and test, and if it works, you can have it,” Robinson recalled.

“She’s my friend. She’s like my second mother,” Bouavichith said. “I want her to be alive, and well, and enjoying life.”

Before surgery, Robinson, Bouavichith and their friends had a kidney party at a Bloomington bar. Gifts, after all, are for any celebration, but the best one Robinson received came with no ribbons and bows. It came from Bouavichith’s heart.

“I can’t even describe what it means to me,” Robinson said.

Bouavichith went into surgery first on Monday at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Robinson was wheeled into an operating room across the hall.

Once doctors removed Bouavichith’s kidney, they walked it across the hall and transplanted it into Robinson’s body.

Robinson’s two-and-a-half hour surgery was successful. Both women are now recovering.

Co-workers have become best friends. Their bond can’t be broken.

“I want Vicki to be happy. I want Vicki to be healthy,” Bouavichith said. “It’s going to work. It’s going to be a good thing. And she’s going to live, hopefully 20, 30, 40 years.”

Robinson will be in the hospital another week. Bouavichith will stay a few more days. Then it’s back to work soon at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

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