GREEN BAY – A gift of a lifetime is making a difference for two city employees in Green Bay.
After working together for years, Andy Rosendahl and Cheryl Renier-Wigg became good friends.
And when Renier-Wigg was sick and needed a kidney transplant, Rosendahl stepped up in a big way.
It’s a gesture that is now helping others through a benefit Thursday at City Hall.
Cheryl Renier-Wigg says a rare form of cancer destroyed her kidneys about three years ago.
“Unfortunately we were not able to save them. So I went on dialysis for a little over a year,” said Cheryl Renier-Wigg, kidney recipient.
Co-worker Andy Rosendahl made a light-hearted suggestion.
“I always said you could have my kidney, don’t worry about it. Your kidney is my kidney,” said Andy Rosendahl, kidney donor.
“We all joked about it. Thinking what are the odds someone’s going to be a match. He was a match,” said Renier-Wigg.
For Rosendahl, it was an easy choice.
“It didn’t cross my mind twice. I knew that it was going to be good for her health, and I knew in all the research I did, that I could do this,” said Rosendahl.
The transplant was in February.
“I mean I feel 100% better right now,” said Renier-Wigg.
The two have been back at work for about a month. Their story was the basis for the Kidney Kampaign.
Money from Thursday’s benefit will help cover medical expenses for both families. The event also raised awareness about organ donation.
“You don’t have to be a living donor, but get that little orange sticker on your license, and make sure that if the opportunity presents itself, you can help someone else,” said Rosendahl.
“It really takes a special person to donate a kidney to a fellow employee, but not really a family member. Andy Rosendahl is a very special person,” said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.
“I always felt like Andy was my son, even when he was my employee. We had that kind of relationship together, so, and now it’s nice because his extended family, I feel is part of my family as well,” said Renier-Wigg.
“Are you proud of the kid?” FOX 11′s Eric Peterson asked.
“Oh my God, are you kidding me? He gave me a kidney,” replied Renier-Wigg.
According to the State Department of Health Services, more than 120,000 people nationwide are waiting for an organ transplant, including more than 2,200 in Wisconsin.