Garden City woman saves her mentor’s life


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A Garden City woman gave a selfless gift to her long-time friend: a kidney.

She just returned from Kentucky where she was able to give the life-saving gift to her friend and mentor.

They met in church nearly a decade ago.

“He was kind of like a father figure to me,” said Dacia Contreras.

When Bill Young left Garden City for Kentucky seven years ago, he and Contreras stayed in touch on Facebook, which is how she learned he needed help.

“My heart feels full knowing I did such a big thing for somebody else,” she said.

Dacia found out her long-time friend and mentor’s body was rejecting his kidney, so she got tested to see if she could be a match.

“Every time you have a kid,” she said, “your blood changes a little bit, so I have three kids, and so both of us have blood that has been altered, and so the chances of us being a match was going to be very slim.”

She says she knew in her heart she was going to be a match, which was good news and a pleasant surprise to Bill.

“There are six antigens within the organ,” explained Young, a medical professional, “and she matched three of them, and that’s basically what you see with a father-child match.”

Appropriately enough, Dacia says Bill is a father figure to her. Last May, at the age of 60, he received his doctorate.

It inspired the mother of three to go back to school herself.

“Here I am,” she said, “in the nursing program and continuing on my education, and I saw that he can do it, and I can do it, too.”

22 years ago, Bill’s wife gave him a kidney. When it started to fail earlier this year, he was grateful for Dacia’s gift.

“I was thrilled,” he said. “I was very thankful. It’s very nice to be able to have good people who will still do good things.”

For Dacia, it was a no-brainer.

“A few weeks of my life is nothing to save somebody else’s life,” she said.

She also said her time in nursing school helped inform her decision. She says she understood what was involved with kidney donation and how it would not hurt her quality of life.

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