LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With March being National Kidney month, two friends came together to put on a series of events in Lufkin to raise awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.
The cause is very near to dear to the hearts of Chekita Sydney and Kimberly Ards, two women who have been best friends for almost forty years. Five years ago, Sydney donated one of her kidneys to Ards.
“I had 8 family members to try to be a donor, no one matched," said Ards. "So at that point Chekita told me that she had a dream that God spoke to her and told her she was a match, she was the donor. That it was what she was supposed to do."
Sure enough, Sydney was a perfect match. She never gave the idea a second thought, she new she had to save her best friend.
“I didn't even think about it, I just said I'll do it," said Sydney. "That's the faith that I have. I wasn't afraid, I stepped out and did what I had to do.”
The transplant was a success. Five years later, Ards is thriving and living a completely healthy life. Grateful for the blessing they were given, the best friends now use their story to educate and inspire others around the Lufkin area.
"God could not have put two better people together to get the word out to help other people," Ards said. "We want to be that example. We want our testimony of what we went through to help other people to do the same thing, to save a life."
Ards and Sydney, along with the help of Lufkin City Councilman Robert Shankle, held a health and fitness fair to educate people in Lufkin on kidney disease, along with other diseases, and how to sign up to be an organ donor.
"There isn't really anything in Lufkin that raises awareness on kidney disease and we want to inform our community," said Sydney.
The friends also partnered with Whole Women Ministries to put on the first annual Gospel Trail Ride. The trail ride traveled through Lufkin to raise awareness and money for the National Kidney Foundation, an organization Ards and Sydney both volunteer for.
"We're hoping this event will become a staple in Lufkin and continue to grow through the years," said Sydney. "We're thinking about how to make it bigger and get more sponsors involved for next year."