VENICE (FOX 13) - Two co-workers at a Lowe's in Venice have a special bond after one of them donated a kidney to the other.
Chris Higbee and Zack Pacyna have worked together for years. But nearly two years ago, Higbee noticed a change in Zack when he switched from the night shift to the day shift.
"I said, why is Zack on days? I was told he was on light duty because he was on dialysis," she recalled.
At 7 years old, Pacyna was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, but he'd always kept it to himself.
"I didn't really tell anybody. I didn't want anybody to know. There was no reason for anyone to know about this stuff. I just went to work and came home," Pacyna said.
Pacyna's condition grew worse, and six months ago his doctor placed him on a transplant list.
"I thought, oh my goodness that's the exact age as my daughter," said Higbee.
Higbee wanted to help and offered a gift. "I said, 'Do you need a kidney?' He said yes. I said, 'Well, you can have mine.' He was like, 'Yeah, right lady,'" she said.
Pacyna admits he thought it was a joke. "By the third time, I kind of figured out she was serious."
After taking a blood test to see if they were a match, the two held their breath.
"We didn't know. We didn't think it would happen. The odds were against us for it to happen," said Pacyna.
The odds worked in their favor and, last December, Higbee gave Pacyna her kidney and another chance at life.
"Everybody's bucket list has 'I want to be a hero' or 'I want to save somebody's life.' This is a fairly simple way to do either one of those," Higbee offered.