Texas kidney recipient to get life-saving organ from stranger answering 'divine call' to donate

A Shallowater, Texas woman whose kidneys are failing will likely receive a transplant from a woman who said it was “on [her] heart" to donate.

Melany Conner, 27, was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease shortly after she gave birth to her twin sons roughly three years ago. The disease, called chronic interstitial nephritis, causes “inflammation of the kidney's tubules and surrounding structures,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

In October, the disease “took a turn for the worse” and caused Conner to go into kidney failure.

“I thought I had the flu. But I went to the doctor and I was told that my kidneys were failing,” Conner told Fox News.

The week before Thanksgiving, Conner was informed she needed a transplant. She started dialysis to support her kidney function as she anxiously awaited a donor.

Jen Walker shows the letter that says she has been approved to donate a kidney.

Jen Walker shows the letter that says she has been approved to donate a kidney. (Jen Walker)

Little did she know, that call would come sooner than expected -- and in a serendipitous way.

Months later, Conner was admitted to the hospital due to a complication with a separate condition, called Crohn's disease. That same day, a 26-year-old Petersburg woman was approved to donate one of her kidneys.

“I literally woke up one day and it was on my heart to donate. I don’t know why, it’s just something that I knew I had to do,” Jen Walker, Conner’s potential donor, told Fox News.

At first, the nurse and mother of two said she pushed the thought out of her mind -- until she started seeing commercials and hearing testimonies from those who had either received or donated an organ.

“I kept feeling led to do it,” she said, adding to KCBD-News that it was a “divine calling.”

After she posted on Facebook that her application to donate had been approved, she said she was contacted by a former nursing instructor who said she knew of a woman who desperately needed a kidney.

That’s when Walker was connected with Conner. As the two began to chat, they realized they were the same blood type, meaning there was a good chance Walker could be Conner’s perfect match.

"She was picked for me a long time ago. She’s my organ soulmate."

— Melany Conner

Walker immediately called to see if she could donate to Conner. But because she was listed as an altruistic donor, Walker was informed she would be unable to give her kidney to someone without having an emotional connection to the recipient first.

The two, who already were forming a friendship at this point, became even closer.

“Melany was a complete stranger, but now we talk every day, go out for dinner, text about everything -- we’ve become best friends through this,” Walker said.

A couple of days later, Conner called Walker to tell her she had been matched with an altruistic donor listed through a donation center in Fort Worth. That’s when Walker realized Conner was unknowingly referring to her.

The two hope to schedule the surgery for June.

The two hope to schedule the surgery for June. (Jen Walker)

“It was insane. We were trying to get around the system, and they ended up putting us together anyway,” said Walker.

On Wednesday, the two were approved to move forward with the procedure. They hope to set a date in June for the surgery.

"Our entire story has been all about timing. This is the cherry on top," Conner said after getting the news.

“I am nervous, but Melany’s excitement overtakes that,” Walker said. “God is in control.”

At first, Walker said her family and friends were trying to “talk [her] out of it.”

“They would say ‘what if this, or what if that.' But I couldn’t live in ‘what if.’ For the recipient, it’s not a what if, it’s their reality.”

Once Conner came into the picture, however, Walker said she’s had endless support.

“God handpicked Melany for me,” she said.

Conner echoed this sentiment.

“She was picked for me a long time ago. She’s my organ soulmate,” Conner laughed. “I’m going to take care of that kidney like a newborn."