Lifelong Friends First Share Schoolbus Seat…then Kidney

On Saturday May 16, Maureen Wirth will pound the pavement in her fourth Healthy Kidney 10K in New York City, but this time she'll be missing something -- a kidney. Wirth, who participated as a runner twice and as a volunteer once at the race, recently donated one of her kidneys to her childhood friend, Amy Nash.

Growing up in Western New York together, the two shared a seat on the school bus and they remained in touch throughout their teen years and beyond.

As a senior in college, Nash's kidney function had dropped to 25% capacity. When her mother and two sisters were not compatible matches, Nash was placed on the transplant waiting list. After a few months, she received a kidney from a deceased donor, a gift that lasted 21 years.

In 2003, Nash's donor kidney failed and she began to undergo dialysis treatment. She was soon back on the waiting list. Five years later, Nash's old bus mate, Wirth, e-mailed her a simple message: "I have two kidneys, if you need one let me know."

After learning that the two were a match, the surgery was scheduled for December 1, 2008 in Buffalo, NY. After only six weeks post-op, Wirth, an avid runner, laced up her running sneakers once again.

To join Wirth and 10,000 runners as they outpace chronic kidney disease at the 2009 Healthy Kidney 10K in NYC's Central Park, click here. Once you register on the New York Road Runners Web site (include link), you can set up your own personal fund raising page to invite your family, friends and co-workers to support you and the NKF.

The Healthy Kidney 10K, benefiting the National Kidney Foundation, is an officially sanctioned event of the New York Road Runners and is a qualifying race for the ING New York City Marathon. The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates is the presenting sponsor.