Connect with us

Happy Tears

Woman Donates Kidney To Man Who Saved Her Life as a Child



Quick Smiles:

  • A volunteer hospital driver and a 6-year-old patient form a lasting bond.
  • Decades later, the grown-up patient donates her kidney to her ailing friend.
  • The act of kindness brings full circle a friendship that started in a hospital ride.

Picture this: Dave Polen, a volunteer hospital driver, starts his journey with a 6-year-old passenger named Krystal. She’s from Somerville, Indiana and needs to travel over 170 miles for treatment at Shriners Children’s in St. Louis. Krystal was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, and her leg might need amputation.

Dave had been volunteering as a driver for 30 years, helping patients improve their quality of life. His role was crucial for Krystal’s family, as her dad worked long hours and couldn’t manage the back-and-forth trips to St. Louis. So, they accepted the offer from the local Shriners charity group.

Over 10 trips, Dave and Krystal had plenty of time to chat during their 3-hour drives. Dave started as a ‘Driver Dad,’ but soon, he became more than that. He became a friend. This unexpected friendship blossomed and lasted for over three decades. Dave even scored an invite to Krystal’s wedding!

Fast forward a few years, and Dave falls ill. His doctors diagnose him with end-stage renal failure. The options? Lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant. But the wait for a kidney could take up to five years. Dave reaches out to Krystal, whose husband had recently received a life-saving liver transplant.

Krystal sees a chance to give back. She discovers they share the same blood type and immediately offers to donate her kidney. She insists, “The kidney belongs to him, whenever he decides to take it.” Dave is taken aback and hesitant, knowing Krystal is a busy mom of three with a full-time job. But Krystal is adamant.

Fast forward to May 2023, after a year on dialysis, Dave accepts her offer. Krystal, always the comedian, tells him, “Pack your bags, Dave. You’re going to get a slightly used but new kidney.”

Krystal reflects on their friendship, “Since I was little, I’ve always questioned why Dave was so good to us because he was so kind and so willing to help out with anything. I’ve always questioned why. What I’ve come to understand is: If I was born with one leg so I could give my kidney to Dave, then so be it.”


Dave is overwhelmed by her generosity. “This is a gift I can’t ever repay,” he says. “I am so thankful! Now, I feel like I can do anything.”

Share this beautiful story of friendship and kindness with your friends on social media for a dose of inspiration!