Goochland teacher donates kidney to father-of-four - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Goochland teacher donates kidney to father-of-four


A man from Goochland has a new lease on life after the incredible sacrifice of a total stranger.

A local teacher, Crissi Flippen, recently donated one of her kidneys to Steve Swinson, a father of four adopted children.

Flippen says it was her instinct to give one of her kidneys to Swinson, a man she'd never met, when she learned he was in need.

"It's not fair for anybody to have limitations on their life due to an illness, if somebody is actually able to help them. So, I would feel pretty bad not offering, knowing that I had the ability," said Flippen.

The assistant teacher overheard her daughter talking with a friend. Steve's daughter, Cheyenne Swinson, described to Crissi's daughter, Ashley Flippen, about her father's struggle with a rare disease that destroyed his kidneys.

Flippen didn't think twice about asking Cheyenne to relay a message.

"I just automatically told her to have her mom call me, to see what I needed to do to get tested," continued Flippen.

Steve Swinson didn't believe his daughter, when she told him that one of her friend's mothers wished to donate her kidney. However, Flippen wasn't kidding about giving this family another chance at a normal life.

"When you're going day-to-day to dialysis, (you wonder) what's going to happen the next day? You just never know," described Swinson of his continual battle with his condition, and how it affected his wife and children.

For seven years, Swinson endured dialysis, intense surgeries, constant hospital stays, and even a coma.

His trials would end this past December 18. Swinson and Flippen met for the first time at the hospital. The transplant was an immediate success. Crissi's kidney began working in Swinson's body instantly.

"It was a miracle," said Cheyenne Swinson.

Both Flippen and Swinson returned home for Christmas. Crissi had given Steven the greatest gift of all, another opportunity to live a full life.

"It really meant the world to myself and my family," told Swinson to Crissi.

It's been nearly three months since the transplant surgery. Both Swinson and Flippen continue to recover well. Swinson says he feels like a new person.

Flippen's license plate reads PY1TFWD, encouraging others to pay it forward, something this selfless woman has clearly exemplified.

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