Lansing nurse donates kidney to patient

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- When one of Iris Zink's patients was diagnosed with kidney cancer, she offered the woman one of her own.

Zink has been a nurse for about 18 years, and often becomes friends with her patients. But her friendship with one patient proved to be life-saving.

"She's just always trying to make everyone laugh despite the hardship she is going through. There was just no hesitation. I didn't want to see her die. I couldn't watch it," Zink said.

It was Ginny Holcomb's personality and giving spirit that drew Zink to her. The nurse practitioner had been treating Holcomb for over 15 years and the two had become best friends.

Zink says that she didn't think twice when it came to giving Holcomb a kidney after she saw the patient's start to fail.

After about a year of tests, Zink got the news: They were a perfect match.

"So then I think this must be what my purpose is. My purpose must be to keep her healthy and donate her a kidney," Zink said.

Zink then called Holcomb to tell her.

Holcomb was reluctant at first but ultimately accepted her offer.

"Well, she told me over the phone and I just started crying. It was, I think, a God moment that she said she was a match and she wanted to do it," Holcomb said.

The two had the surgery in July. Zink says that she is back to 100 percent, while Holcomb's condition continues to improve.

The two talk daily and even have necklaces shaped like kidneys to represent their everlasting, life-saving friendship. They tell me this just made them part of each other's lives forever.

"We're bonded for life; she's got part of me in her," Zink said.

"It's a beautiful thing to have someone else's body part in you," Holcomb added.

The said they wanted to share their story to inspire others to donate. Both say the other is the hero of this story.

For more information on being a donor, visit kidney.org/transplantation/beadonor