In 2000, Zeny Myers was told that she had six months to live. She had end-stage renal disease and, without a kidney transplant, her life would come to a tragically early end. After being placed on the national transplant waiting list, Zeny traveled across the country with her husband to say her goodbyes.

When Zeny was first diagnosed with her disease, she rejected the idea of being sick. Young, busy and ambitious, Zeny denied her diagnosis. But by the summer of 1999, her symptoms were irrepressible. She was constantly fatigued and experienced severe pain. This forced her to face the disease head on. No longer in denial, she became depressed and detached as she anticipated the end of her life.

While traveling to say her goodbye to her family and friends, Zeny feared that her soul was dying before her body.

Somewhere along her journey, Zeny met up with a cousin. She explained her prognosis and her cousin replied with the seven words that would change Zeny’s life, “you can have one of my kidneys.”

They exchanged information and planned to stay in touch. Zeny returned home in shock. She and her cousin shared tears over the phone with each successful lab test. As the process unfolded, a new sense of hope overcame Zeny. She surpassed the 6 months mark feeling stronger and ready to reclaim her life.

By the winter of 2000, Zeny’s kidneys were failing. The doctors concluded that her cousin was a match and they scheduled the surgery. After a successful operation, Zeny woke up with a new kidney. Both Zeny and her cousin had smooth recoveries.

Because of her cousin’s generosity, Zeny was able to go to her son’s wedding, welcome her grandchildren into the world and celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary. Zeny is incredibly grateful for this “wonderful person” who “gave me life.” She feels that they are forever connected by this “selfless act.”

Click here to read more stories