Gainesville woman finds living kidney donor

GAINESVILLE, Tex. (KXII) - A Gainesville woman got a life-changing knock on the door Monday night.

She's been searching for a living kidney donor all year and now, she has one.

Tammy Garner has known for 10 years that she has polycystic kidney disease and needed a living donor to give her a kidney.

A visit from family Monday turned into a moment she'll never forget.

"It's been a process and they told me it was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack," Garner said.

But the needle found her.

"I got up this morning, I thought was this a dream? No, it was real. It was real," she said.

It all started in February.

Tammy Garner's doctors told her she needed to find someone to donate their kidney or she would have to go on dialysis.

"So we made it a campaign not to only find me a kidney, but as many people as possible and to make kidney donation, make people aware of that," Garner said.

Her friend made the Facebook page "Share Your Spare With Tammy" to find a donor.

It has hundreds of followers, but it takes a lot to be a match.

First, you have to have the same blood type and your body can't have a type of cell that would cause the recipient's body to fight the kidney.

Plus, a day of testing from getting blood drawn, X-rays, scans, even a mental health screening.

It's a search for a light in an unknown tunnel, but turns out, she'd find her answer close to home.

"It's pretty amazing," Garner said.

Monday night Garner welcomed in family from Tulsa for a visit.

And that's when her husband's cousin gave her news that changed everything.

"So when Markie showed up last night sitting on my couch, and she looks me in the eye and says I'm your match, I lost it. I mean it was just, I just couldn't believe it. You know, that's a lot to ask from someone. So she is my hero," she said.

Months of waiting for a match, over in a matter of seconds.

"I am very blessed and I am very happy," Garner said.

She said after surgery, it's about a two week recovery.

But then, she'll be good as new.

"They say that once you get past that, stand back because you can't stop me now," Garner said.

Their surgery is set for January.

Garner encourages people to become organ donors because you could save a life.