TULSA, Oklahoma - The list of patients waiting for a kidney transplant is a little shorter this Christmas. Two women who need kidney transplants had a common faith they would find a donor - and through an unusual connection - a match was found.

For two weeks, Ann Marie Hayden has looked forward to this day.

Two weeks ago, Taura Grayson was not sure this day would ever would come.

She waited two years for a kidney transplant, and two weeks ago Ann Marie gave her a kidney.
They met for the first time Thursday, December 20.

The two women were matched through the living donor program at Saint Francis Hospital, where there are never enough donors to meet the need.

Terri Roberts, the Living Donor Coordinator at Saint Francis, said they have 90 patients, consistently, on the list.

“That's a lot of people waiting for a kidney," she said.

Taura and Ann Marie would have never met except for Lenecia Hamilton. She and Ann Marie are co-workers at Tulsa Public Schools, and Lenecia is on the kidney waiting list.

Ann Marie wasn't a match for her friend, but she was willing to donate to anyone. Taura was a match.

When they met Thursday, Taura told Ann Marie: “I just thank God for you. I just thank God for you.”

Most donated kidneys come from cadavers, but ones from living donors work better.

“It will last her many years, probably greater than 20 years at least," Roberts said.

Ann Marie believes God led her to make the donation.

“I didn't know who or why, but I knew he wanted me to give my kidney away," she said.

Taura said she always had faith she would eventually be matched, but thought the wait would be years longer.

While it was Lenecia's need who put them all together - she doesn't take the credit.

“God put this in motion, through me. Got put this in motion, through me," she said.

After her co-worker was matched with a recipient - Lanecia was matched with a relative. She'll have a transplant right after New Year’s.