They live in the same small city but didn't know each other
It's a match made in... Bullhead City.
Mike Newman retired as a police sergeant there in 2006. A year before that, he began having health problems, but "I didn't know how sick I was."
Within a year after retiring, Newman found out his kidneys were failing and he was put on dialysis. Since then, he's been waiting for a kidney transplant.
Kellie Boff heard about Newman's plight. She is the operations director for the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce. "I signed up as an organ donor as soon as I got my driver's license," she says, "and I've been giving blood almost that long."
She went to get tested to see if she could give Newman one of her kidneys. It turns out she was a good tissue match.
The surgery is expected to be performed at Mayo Clinic Hospital in north Phoenix in early September. "They've been great," Boff said at a news conference. "If you have to get poked and prodded, this is the place to get it done."
Newman is grateful that someone he never knew before would be willing to donate a kidney for him.
Dr. James Ivie of the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona says more than 100,000 people in the US are on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant because there's a severe shortage of donors. He said it's at least a 3½ year wait for a new kidney, and for many patients, it can be seven years.
Boff says the match was obviously meant to be: "The bottom line is I hope that other people may step up to the plate. When they look at little ol' me here, that they'll say, if she can do it, I can do it."
PHOTO: (From left) Dr. Raymond Heilman of Mayo Clinic Hospital, Kellie Boff, and Mike Newman talk to reporters.