ELKHART, Ind. (The Mennonite) - This year's holiday season will be especially joyful for Krissie Boss. She will be giving thanks for the gift of life from a friend. Betty Roth Weaver gave Krissie one of her kidneys on Nov. 4.
Both Boss and Weaver are administrative assistants in Mennonite Mission Network's Elkhart, Ind., office. Boss works in the human relations department. Weaver is health-care administrator and an assistant in the finance department.
"I asked her over and over again," Boss said on Oct. 27, "if this is something she wants to do. I am extremely humbled that Betty agreed to do this."
Boss has polycystic kidney disease, a problem that has been in her family for generations.
"My father had it and had a transplant," Boss said. "His sister had it. His mother probably had it. My brother has it and is getting ready for a transplant."
Boss learned 24 years ago that she has the disease, but her kidneys did not begin to fail until two years ago. For the past 18 months she has had to hook up to a machine every night rather than going to a dialysis center. For nine hours each night, the machine drew toxins out of her peritoneal cavity.
While waiting on the list for two years, another friend offered Boss a kidney. The donor was compatible but was rejected for health reasons.
"After her friend was rejected," Weaver said, "I asked Krissie for the phone number of the donor coordinator. I decided if I got turned down, I could accept that. I knew that if something happened to Krissie and I hadn’t tried, it would be difficult to live with my conscience."
Both women have been active at Sunnyside Mennonite Church, Dunlap, Ind., for 30 years. They were MYF sponsors together and have served on many committees.
"Someone came to my desk at work one day," Weaver said, "and said, 'Do people at Sunnyside know how sick Krissie is?' I made the phone call that afternoon."
Each woman has two young adult children. Weaver and her husband also have one grandchild.
"My son wanted to know if I’m going to act like Betty [after receiving her kidney]," Boss laughed.
Weaver says she had some worries beforehand.
"I thought, What if I get a kidney disease?" Weaver said. "Well, if I have a disease, it will affect both kidneys.
"Someone asked me why God gave us two kidneys. I said, 'So we can give one away.'"
On Oct. 28, staff members from the Mennonite Church USA offices gathered for an anointing service for both Betty and Krissie. "It was a tearful and joyful event," said Linda Krueger, human resources coordinator for Mission Network. "Betty reminded us of the time a few years ago when she was hospitalized with [pulmonary embolism] and was not expected to live. Now she is not only living, but is giving life away!"
The Sunnyside congregation also held a special prayer service for the women on Nov. 1.
The Nov. 4 operation was at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. On Nov. 5, Weaver reported that the staff told her both kidneys were functioning well.
Weaver and Boss are now recuperating at home and expect to be back to work by the end of the year.
See the story in its original form online at www.themennonite.org.
This article first appeared in the Nov. 17, 2009 issue of The Mennonite. Reprinted with permission.