Chance bathroom meeting leads coworkers to realize they can donate kidneys to the other’s husband

ATLANTA — A chance meeting between coworkers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta changed the course of two families lives forever.

In the fall of 2019, Susan Ellis and Tia Wimbush, who work together in the hospital’s IT department, learned that both of their husbands went into renal failure just days apart and needed kidney transplants.

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While Susan was not a match for her husband, she joined a donor chain in the hopes that he would eventually get a kidney. Unfortunately, that donor chain fell through.

“We were devastated,” said Susan, “[but] we would later find out that God had a better plan.”

Last year, the two ran into each other in the bathroom and began talking about the donor process when they realized they were donor matches for the other’s husband.

“We were washing our hands and catching up. I knew Susan was going through the donor process, so I asked how it was going,” said Tia.

In March 2021, Tia donated a kidney to Susan’s husband Lance and Susan donated a kidney to Tia’s husband Rodney.

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“You could be someone else’s hope. All it takes is a conversation, a kind word, checking in on someone to see how they are doing. You don’t know how far that can go for one person,” said Tia.

Earlier this week, Tia and Susan returned to work to a surprise celebration from their coworkers.