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    Oct 21, 2016; 3:00 PM ET
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    CBS12 Chico

    Butte County woman gives the gift of life by giving up a piece of herself

    Butte County woman gives the gift of life by giving up a piece of herself

    Human Kindness often involves giving of yourself, but tonight we're going to meet one woman who actually gave a part of herself to save a life in this week's Hello Humankindness in partnership with Dignity Health of Northern California.

    Shaylyn Shamblin and Lexi Ramsey barely knew each other a year ago but now they're connected in a very special way.

    “There's really not much you can say,” Shamblin said. “There's nothing I could do to give back to her that would ever match what she did for me. I’m so, so thankful, I love you!"

    Shamblin was diagnosed with kidney failure when she was three and at the age of 21, the organs completely shut down.

    "We didn't think it was going to be as serious as it was until the doctor came in and told me it was either dialysis or I would probably die within the next 48 hours,” she said.

    For the next two years, Shamblin endured 3-hour dialysis sessions three times a week gaining up to five pounds in fluid buildup in the two days between treatments.

    Through a mutual friend, Desi, Ramsey heard about Shamblin 's need for a transplant and didn't think twice.

    "If I have something inside me that I don't need that's going to save her life, it's a no brainer, of course," Lexi Ramsey said. 

    Both friends remember exactly what happened when they found out Lexi could donate her kidney.

    "I texted Shaylyn, told her I was a match, she started crying in taco bell," Ramsey said.

    "It was tears, lots and lots of tears while I’m eating a bean burrito," Shamblin said.

    The operation was scheduled for September, 2015 at UC Davis Medical Center, but like so many things in life, there was another bump in the road.

    "They were about to put an IV in my arm to go in to surgery and a nurse came around the corner and said wait the recipient has a 104 temperature," Ramsey said.

    A year later, the procedure finally took place and Shamblin had her kidney and a new lease on life.

    "I feel like god created the kidney for Shaylyn and I was just keeping it warm for the last 35 years," Ramsey said.

    The Sept. 19 surgery was an immediate success.

    "The day I came home even my family said shaylyn you look like a different person," Ramsey said.

    That was a month ago and both patients are recovering nicely.

    “They told me i can go back to work in the next two weeks, I can go back to school, all the things I had to put on hold for nearly three years," Shamblin said.

    And the woman who saved Shamblin’s life has a message for others.

    "You're not going to miss a kidney you don't need,” Ramsey said. “So ahead and get tested, see if you're going to be a match for someone."

    Giving away a piece of herself and gaining a friend for life is a trade Lexi Ramsey would make every time.

    If you know anyone or any group deserving to be nominated for their acts of human kindness, go to our website.

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