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Inspired by daughter, Gilbert woman donates kidney to a stranger

In February, Beth Ramirez of Gilbert donated one of her kidneys to a woman she hasn't met. (Photo courtesy of Beth Ramirez)
LISTEN: Gilbert woman donates kidney to a stranger

PHOENIX — Beth Ramirez said her life changed after her daughter was diagnosed with an illness.

“I knew I couldn’t help my daughter but I could help someone,” she said.

The Gilbert resident started doing small acts of kindness to help others, such as anonymously paying someone’s tab at a restaurant. But she felt that wasn’t enough.

She said she found her calling when she was flipping through a magazine and read an article about kidney donations.

“I really felt a tap on my shoulder from God that said ‘This is what I’ve been preparing you for,’” she said.

After much thought and research, she decided to give the gift of life. She donated one of her kidneys to a complete stranger in February.

The transplant was a success.

“As I understand it, it started working immediately for her,” Ramirez said, referring to her kidney recipient. “I’m very hopeful and prayerful that she’s doing well, and I look forward to meeting her soon.”

A little more than three weeks after the surgery, Ramirez was back at work. She said at first only her closest friends and family knew about the transplant because, “I never wanted it to be about me. I wanted it to be about doing an act of kindness.”

Her kidney advocate, who helped her throughout the process, encouraged her to share her story with others. She decided to do so as a way to inspire others to become kidney donors.

Currently, there are more than 2,100 people in Arizona waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and most of them are in need of a kidney, according to the Donor Network of Arizona.

“There are so many people who need help,” Ramirez said. “There are so many generations you can affect by helping just one person.”

To register to become an organ donor, visit the Donor Network of Arizona’s website.

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