Organ donation turns working relationship into friendship - KCTV5

Organ donation turns working relationship into friendship

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Friends help each other out all the time, but a Lawrence man went the extra mile when one of his co-workers needed a new kidney.

Two middle school teachers worked together for nearly nine years, but they became close friends when one of them needed a kidney.

"You can't have a connection like this and not change your relationship. Especially since we'll see each other all the time. I guess we'll say, 'Hi, how's my kidney?' 'Oh, it is doing OK,'" Mike Wormsley said.

Wormsley is recovering at the University of Kansas Hospital after receiving the vital organ from his colleague, Scott Forkenbrock.

Both men teach at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School in Lawrence.

"Mike is an entertaining guy, funny. Has a great sense of humor. Just real great with the kids," Forkenbrock said.

But the two of them interacted only occasionally until Forkenbrock learned of the genetic condition that caused cysts in Wormsley's kidneys.

"At first I didn't realize it had happened. I was like, 'Really? Really? You want to do this? You want to give me a kidney?'" Wormsley said. 

"I just kept feeling like the benefits kept outweighing any potential negative side effects that might outweigh any potential negative side effects," Forkenbrock said.

The two teachers were a match, and Wormsley's doctor says modern medicine makes it easier to donate than ever.

"There's growing and growing acceptance, even to the point of altruistic donors. People donate who don't even know the patient. I think it speaks to Mike that a friend would donate," Dr. Bruce Kaplan said.

Now, both men are healing and looking forward to the freedom of a normal life.

"I've already had my Coca-Cola. I can eat cheese again. It's just little things like that. You don't realize how much you miss them until now. I can't wait to get into them," Wormsley said.

Wormsley will return to school in March but until then, he is maintaining a good sense of humor. He's even made a poster that says, 'other faculty share ideas, LMCMS shares organs.'

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