Watch CBS News

Back-to-school night prompts kidney donation, changing the lives of two Colorado women forever

A back-to-school night in Monument prompted a kidney donation
A back-to-school night in Monument prompted a kidney donation 02:44

April is Donate Life Month. The month-long event promotes the importance of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Two Colorado women know first-hand just how important organ donation can be. 

Britany and Amanda  CBS

For third-grade teacher Britany Blair and her co-worker Amanda Bennett, back-to-school night in 2023 Monument Academy is one they'll never forget. 

"Back-to-school night, I went to Britany's room, and I had just a friend text me and be like, 'Do you want to meet for tacos?' and I saw Britany pull out all of her dialysis, she's holding a bag above her head, attached her tubes, and has a bag on the floor," said Amanda Bennett. 

Britany was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis in 2018 and her kidneys began to significantly decline in 2022 when she needed to start dialysis and was added to the transplant waitlist.

"It was definitely hard. It's a balance, but trying to juggle, okay, I have to be home, so I can hook up to a machine because without that machine, I don't survive," said Britany Blair. 

While they both taught at the school in the Colorado Springs area, Amanda and Britany didn't know each other very well at the time. But when Amanda found out Britany needed a kidney transplant, she was moved to action. 

"She deserves to not be attached to this, and if I can do anything to help her life the way that she wants to live -- what's stopping you?" asked Amanda. 

After rigorous testing, Amanda learned she was a match. 

  Britany Blair and Amanda Bennett

"I remember getting the phone call, and I think Amanda got a very similar phone call, and it was like, 'OK, we're doing this.' 'Are you sure?' It was kind of an out-of-body experience because you're like -- is this really going to happen," said Britany. 

Britany and Amanda went through transplant surgery at AdventHealth Porter in Denver in December 2023, which joined the two women in a lifelong bond. 

When asked about organ donation, the women shared their positive experiences. 

"I thought I would feel really bad for a really long time, and I was like, 'I'm going to give her my kidney and then I'm going to get all the symptoms.' And that wasn't the case," said Amanda. "It was significantly easier than what I thought it was going to be, and way more fulfilling."

Britany said her message to Amanda is, "Life long thank you, for sure... Thank you will never be enough -- and the future that she provided is huge."

In 2023, the generosity of 307 organ donors and their families provided 918 lifesaving organ transplants, and more than 1,700 tissue donors provided more than 100,000 lifesaving and healing gifts. Tissue transplants provide hope to tens of thousands of people suffering from disease, injury, trauma, or blindness.

One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save and heal up to 75 lives through tissue donation. People can register to be organ, eye and tissue donors the next time they obtain or renew their driver's license at the DMV. The heart with the Y on your driver's license means you have joined the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming registry. During National Donate Life Month, many driver's license offices across the region will be decorated in blue and green to support the cause, as the simple and important question they ask saves and heals so many lives.

Those who want to learn more or start the donation process can fill out these forms to get connected: Patient Referral Form | AdventHealth Porter.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.