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The phone call

Bowers returned from work and saw an out-of-town number on caller ID. When he called it, he reached Chalson, who had reacted to his profile.

It was a call she had been afraid to make. She said, "I just didn't know what to do."

In an awkward few seconds in which she said, who she was, and then he affirmed his willingness to help after which she broke down in tears.

Bowers spoke with Chalson's husband, Allen, and the two talked about their families and spoke about how they should proceed. Bowers went to Memorial Hospital to be tested for his compatibility as a donor, by no means a given. He underwent further tests over the next several weeks, and months later, he was on a plane to New York to meet the Chalsons and undergo another barrage of medical testing.

Likely donors undergo blood tests, urinalyses, X-rays, ultrasounds and further procedures to boost the odds of a successful kidney transplant.

Bowers passed all the tests.

Chalson's Medicare coverage paid Bowers' medical bills. She covered his travel expenses, and then on Sept. 25, the pair lay side by side at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

A few hours later, both were sore but could not have been happier, they said.

"I showed up, went to sleep and woke up a little sore," Bowers said. Downplaying his sacrifice, he said, "It's a big, big deal for her."

Already, Chalson says she feels stronger and Bowers is back at work as an assistant manager at Discount Tire Co.



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