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Friend Resurfaces After Years, Offering The Gift Of A Kidney

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Allison Buell, left, donated a kidney to the spouse of her longtime friend, Maggie Vazquez. (CBS)

Allison Buell, left, donated a kidney to the spouse of her longtime friend, Maggie Vazquez. (CBS)

Dana Kozlov Dana Kozlov
Dana Kozlov is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She...
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WHITING, Ind. (CBS) — One woman gave the gift of life to an old friend’s husband without even being asked.

Allison Buell personifies the spirit of giving. The Whiting, Ind. woman didn’t even hesitate to donate her kidney when she heard her friend’s husband needed one.

Just in time for Christmas.

It’s the story of grade-school friends who will now forever share a connection.

Maggie Vazquez and Allison Buell hadn’t spoken for more than 20 years, until an e-mail from a mutual acquaintance caught Buell’s attention.

Vazquez’s husband, Felix, was in kidney failure, on dialysis, and in need of a transplant.

“Instantly, she Facebook-friends me,” Maggie Vazquez says. “She’s like, ‘I got time, I got a kidney. How do I get tested?’”

Buell never had a doubt that she could give Felix a Christmas present.

And in less than a month, that’s exactly what happened.

Felix Vazquez left the hospital Sunday – Christmas — a new man.

“She’s given me so many more Christmases with my husband. How do you repay that? We gave her a coffee maker,” Maggie Vazquez says, laughing.

The reacquainted old friends call it fate. Buell had just been fired from a teaching job she loved, giving her the time to get tested and to donate.

She says the experience afforded her a “George Bailey moment,” a reference to the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which a distressed man realizes how he has influenced the lives of others.

“Not only am I helping them, but my friends were helping me, too,” Buell says.

Vazquez and Buell are doing well.  His new kidney is functioning perfectly.

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