MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The firefighter’s fraternity is a tight one. Due to the many perils of the job, they must rely on each other to remain safe while saving structures and lives.

“There is a lot of trust there,” said third-generation Elk River firefighter Chad Kreuser.

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But for Kreuser and fellow firefighter Ryan Wolcenski, it’s grown to be so much more: Kreuser learned that he suffers from polycystic kidney disease and in rapid need of a lifesaving kidney transplant.

“It’s kind of one of those things that you have no control over, so you hope for the best,” said Keuser.

So when the search began for possible donors, fellow firefighter Wolcenski didn’t bat an eye. He quickly volunteered to be tested to see if by chance he would be a suitable match.

“I didn’t, didn’t even hesitate,” Wolcenski explained.

A couple months later, Kreuser got the news few expected and was both shocked and pleased to learn his kidney was a perfect match.

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“I got an email from my [medical] team that said, ‘congratulations! you’re a match,'” said Wolcenski.

In just ten days, on June 23, the two men will be in Hennepin County Medical Center, answering the most important call for help.

Wolcenski said he’s doing whatever it takes so his friend can have a full life and his daughters can watch him grow up. “It’s pretty humbling to be the one to make the sacrifice for him,” he said.

It will be like having a whole new birthday, said Kreuser. “I feel the best way to thank him is going forward to live the best life I can.”

It’s a bond forged in fire and sincere friendship.

Wolcenski will have to take a month off his job as a welder to recuperate from the kidney donor surgery. He will also have to take up to three months off as a firefighter and EMT. To help him defer lost income during his recovery, his friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign.

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