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Donated Kidney Saves a Life

Tina Jennings didn't know 10-year-old Bryson Dickman, but she says she knew in her heart she was meant to give him one of her kidneys.

Tina Jennings was at her allergy clinic when she saw the flyer.

Bryson Dickman, 10, of Acworth had medullary cystic disease and his kidneys were failing.

She'd seen flyers like that before — somebody needing help from the community.

But for some reason she pulled out her Red Cross card and found that she had the same blood type as Bryson.

She got home and talked it over with her husband, Parnick. She prayed about it and asked God for some sign she was doing the right thing.

Jennings passed a church the next day and there was a sign out front that said "Be an organ donor."

That sealed the deal.

"It's amazing that she was just ready to give a kidney to someone she didn't even know," said Lori Dickman, Bryson's mother.

Bryson's sister has the same disease and had a transplant four years ago, again a stranger who stepped in to help.

There were many tests Jennings had to have to make sure her kidney would be okay for Bryson.

"I never doubted that I would be a match," Jennings said recently as she sat in her living room. Two of her cats, Jo Jo and Money, came to see who was visiting.

Jennings met Bryson the Sunday before the operation. He was upset that she was a female. Jennings told him she had one female kidney and one male. She was going to give him the male one.

She had her surgery at Emory and Bryson had his at Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta's pediatric hospital nearby. The nurses told her that the pain after the surgery would be intense.

But when she awoke, she had no pain. Another sign God had a hand in the whole thing, Jennings said.

Jennings went to see Bryson after the surgery. His mother calls and texts Jennings a lot with updates. Dickman says her son has had no problems and is doing really well.

"It's been a real blessing to me to participate in this," Jennings said.

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