Stranger's Sacrifice Helps Little Girl

This is a story about a woman who donated a kidney to a girl she didn't know.

MOUNTAIN HOME -- Seven-year-old Lily Stewart loves to play soccer in the front yard with her brother and sister and on an organized team.

"Because I like winning the other team and like making more goals," Lily said.

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Lily's mother, Amanda Stewart, says people don't believe her when she tells them Lily had a kidney transplant.

"They look at me and they're like, no way," Amanda Stewart said.

Amanda says her daughter has come a long way. As a baby, Lily had a disease that led to total organ failure. She recovered, except for her kidneys. So, Lily did dialysis three days a week.

"Lily was always tired, never would eat anything," Stewart said. "She would always be sick."

When no one in the family could donate a kidney to Lily, Amanda reached out on a forum for organ transplants on Facebook.

Jenna Allen, a woman in New Mexico, a total stranger, answered that call for help. She got tested and matched Lily.

But why do this for someone she didn't even know? The mother of two says it was maternal instinct kicking in.

"When I first saw her mother posting her picture of her daughter, you know, I knew right away that I needed to help her," Allen said. "I knew it was something that was definitely worth a try."

"I didn't even talk to her at all until I met her when she flew into Salt Lake City to meet me and Lily," Stewart said. "It was crazy!"

Allen says she was familiar with the Facebook forum because she had been a candidate as a donor for a friend's husband. She couldn't donate to him because she had just had a baby, but he did find a donor.

Lily certainly appreciates what Jenna did for her.

"So I was having a kidney transplant and she got me her kidney because she was kind," Lily said.

"She wanted to do it so we did it together, and I was kind of scared, and we did it."

They did it, and it went well.

"She donated the kidney to me and I really loved it, and now I feel so much better," Lily said.

Allen says she feels relieved that Lily is doing so well, now three years later.

"I just feel the appreciation of it, the true happiness knowing that I can give her a second chance of life," Allen said.

Amanda Stewart says it means the world to her that Jenna made this sacrifice for her little girl.

"It's really awesome seeing her be a kid, finally," Stewart said. "There's no stopping her now. Jenna's kidney is like a rock star."

She may be only 7, but Lily thinks maybe she'll be a doctor when she grows up. It makes sense after all she's been through.

"So I can get people better and have fun," Lily said.

Just like she is now.

If you would like more information on organ, eye and tissue donation and how to register as a donor, you can visit the "Yes Idaho" website.

You can also register as a donor when you get your driver's license or when you renew it.

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