Hooters waitress donates kidney to longtime customer

Mariana Villarreal will donate one of her kidneys to a longtime customer.(Photo: WXIA)

Mariana Villarreal will donate one of her kidneys to a longtime customer.(Photo: WXIA)

Source: 11 Alive

Don Thomas is a longtime regular at the Hooters in Roswell.

But it’s not the beer or the chicken wings that bring him back. Instead, it’s the generosity of one of the waitresses.

“Mariana had only been here a short time,” Thomas said. “I just barely knew her when she made the offer.”

The offer was the gift of life. Thomas lost both his kidneys.

“I said, ‘Well I have two kidneys, do you want one of mine?'” said Mariana Villarreal, a waitress at Hooters.

“My reply was, ‘I will accept it,'” Don said.

Mariana doesn’t know Don outside of work. But she feels a higher calling.

Her grandmother recently passed away from kidney failure.

“I wasn’t able to do anything for my grandma,” Mariana said, “If [Don] can live two more years, happy as he’s ever been, that’s fine with me. That’s not up to me. I did my part, now it’s God’s turn to keep him alive.”

Dr. Harrison Pollinger, one of the program directors of the Piedmont Transplant Institute, said both donor and recipient should be able to live healthy lives after the surgery.

“You can live your whole life with one just kidney,” Pollinger said, “You only need one kidney for normal kidney function.”

Mariana hopes her story will inspire others to donate organs to those in need.

“A lot of people don’t realize how easy it is – relatively – to give someone a new life,” said Chris Bond with the Georgia Transplant Foundation.

Don will have a new life. Thanks to a special bond born at the unlikeliest of places.

“Mariana and I are just two normal people,” said Don, “one who needs help – me -and Mariana who is so willing to give help.”

Mariana and Don will go into surgery Friday morning.

After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.





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