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Miracle Kidney Saves Two Youngstown Lives

Wednesday, February 21, 2001 at 7:29 AM

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Two women - one with a life threatening kidney illness, the other with a desire to help - are brought together by a miracle. It sounds like a Sunday afternoon movie special, but it is the real story of acquaintances in Youngstown. As 90.3 FM's Tarice Sims reports, one woman, inspired by a television show tried to help save her friend's life and ending up saving her own as well.

Tarice Sims- More than 20 years ago Nancy Mayor got an infection that all but destroyed the health of her kidneys. Recently her condition had gotten so bad that the 43-year-old was confined to a wheelchair. The wife and mother from Youngstown was put on a kidney transplant list in October of 1999. But, after nearly 9 months of waiting the future seemed bleak. Little did Mayor know that an unlikely source of inspiration would soon lead to hope. Last July, Cindy Moran and her husband Norbert were settling in for a quiet evening at their home in Boardman, outside of Youngstown, when the TV show “It’s a Miracle” came on. Moran says the show would soon change her life and the life of her distant relative Nancy Mayor.

Cindy Moran- Just a couple a days before that show came on I had found out from my daughter in law that Nancy was not doing well. That she was on a transplant you know waiting to get a transplant, and I guess that must have been in the back of my mind and I was working in the kitchen, and my kitchen opens into my family room so you know they’re joined together and I could hear them talking on TV about a kidney transplant so that’s what caught my attention.

TS- Moran says the program was about a woman who donated her kidney to save a friend. That surprised her because she thought only blood relatives could donate organs. So she immediately got on the internet to find information about non-related organ donors. She was encouraged to find out that success rates were higher than she expected.

She followed up with calls to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Youngstown, to see if she could be tested as a potential donor. And, although her husband Norbert wanted to help, the 67-year-old was ruled out as a donor because of age. But, 49-year-old Cindy Moran ended up being a near perfect match - for Nancy Mayor.

CM- We got the ball rolling and we found out the facts on none related donors, no I didn’t have any hesitation about that.

TS- Moran went through a series of tests to make sure she was healthy enough to donate. Mayor also had to be tested to make sure she was strong enough for the operation. Moran, says doctors were convinced that everything was fine and decided to move ahead with the kidney transplant last October.

CM- When I went in to do the surgery I didn’t know that I had a problem. I mean according to all the test I’d had, I was healthy there was no problem.

TS- But in the middle of the operation, doctors discovered that Moran had an aneurysm, a swollen artery that was so thin that it went undetected before the surgery. The very thinness also made it likely to rupture which in most cases is fatal. In fact, Moran’s husband, Norbert, says it’s a miracle his wife didn’t die simply from being moved from the gurney to the operating table. He says its also a miracle that the aneurysm wasn’t found until the day of kidney transplant.

Norbert Moran- God didn’t want it to be seen.

TS- If the aneurysm had been noticed during preliminary tests doctors would have repaired it, and not taken the kidney from Moran and transplanted it into Mayor.

NM- So A, they wouldn’t have given it to her; B, she probably wouldn’t be here today. So if you don’t believe in God that’ll sure change your mind.

TS- A few months ago the Morans called “It’s a Miracle,” the show that started it all, to share their story. The show producers found the story so intriguing they asked if they could tell it on an upcoming episode. A few weeks ago the television crew came through Youngstown and Cleveland to interview both couples and film the episode.

Cleveland actress Mimi Testin plays the part of Cindy Moran. Testin says it’s a easy role because she believes in miracles, and the story’s underlying message.

Mimi Testin- Not to be so self centered and just think about me me me, it’s such a wonderful thing to want to help each other and to want to give of yourself. And no man is an island we’re all here to love one another and to help one another and in doing so we are given our blessing.

TS- Cindy Moran is back at work as an x-ray technician in Boardman. Nancy Mayor is said to be doing well and slowing adjusting to life with her new kidney. The “It’s A Miracle” episode about these women is scheduled to air on PAX TV this spring. In Cleveland, Tarice Sims, 90.3 WCPN, 90.3 FM.

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