Two Western Pa. lives changed through kidney transplant, Facebook chat
Rebekah Ceidro hadn't seen her friend for a few years when the post appeared on her Facebook feed.
Chris Moore, 30, of Derry had chronic kidney disease. He needed a kidney transplant in six months to a year.
"How is this possible?" thought Ceidro, 33, of Crafton as she recalled their days of working together in a Latrobe Eat'n Park. "He was so young. He was this guy who had always been in great shape. It didn't make sense."
The Facebook post went up late last summer. For weeks, mutual friends shared the post, commented on it and sent Moore prayers and well-wishes.
But as far as Ceidro could tell, nobody sent an offer for an actual kidney.
She sent him a private Facebook message.
Ceidro: Hey. so i saw the facebook thing. Have you found a potential donor yet?
Moore: Hey. No I haven't found a donor yet. I guess a bit of waiting period is to be expected though. … The main thing is blood type and tissue compatibility. I'm type O.
Ceidro: So you just need someone with type O then? Because I will gladly offer you one of mine.
Moore was in a bad place. For a month after learning of his diagnosis, he told nobody outside of his immediate family, none of whom were compatible. He took the news as a death sentence. Doctors told him that people can linger for years on transplant lists, only to die before a lifesaving organ becomes available.
"I started to panic," he said. "At 30, you're not thinking about your future. You're thinking about the next party or when you can go skydiving."
Then his old friend sent him a Facebook message.
"I am not an emotional person but I was in tears," Moore said. "I almost couldn't even finish reading what she wrote."
Moore: You don't even know how much encouragement you just gave me.
Ceidro: Chris, i can't imagine the fear and stress of what you're going through. Nobody deserves that type of uncertainty. ... To my knowledge my kidneys are well functioning so i would gladly give you one.
Chris: There aren't words for how thankful I am.
Ceidro began the process.
She answered all the questions and convinced doctors she was not being paid and had not been coerced. She took the compatibility tests which showed she was a match.
There was only one problem: She was too heavy.
At five feet and seven inches, she weighed 218 pounds. The surgeons who would perform the operation told her they would not operate unless she was under 200.
"I had a very 'girl' moment where I thought, 'Wow, that was hurtful,'" Ceidro recalled. "In my head I thought: I'm too fat to save somebody's life. So I looked at them and said, 'I guess I'm going to have to lose some weight.'"
A couple weeks later, Eat'n Park held a wellness 5k race in South Park. Ceidro signed up. It's only five kilometers (3.1 miles), she told herself. No problem.
"Boy was I wrong," she said. "It had been a long time since I felt that defeated and out of shape."
But she did it.
And she did not stop. She crossed the finish line and told herself: "I'm going to keep running until I can run a 5k every day," she said. "And now I can. It took a while, but ..."
It took a while, but she got to the point where she could run six miles without stopping.
So she signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
On May 7, she will run 13.1 miles, less than a year after she could barely finish a 5k.
Two days later, on May 9, Moore will meet with doctors to determine when the transplant surgery will be needed.
"There are a lot of people who need a kidney," Moore said. "My story is nothing special. It's not about me, not about a kidney. It's about Becky's courage."
Her weight is down to 180. She has never felt better. She intends to drop even more pounds, for Moore and for herself.
"I'm in the best shape of my life and I have my friend to thank," she said. "I may be saving his life, but he doesn't realize he saved mine."