We would all like to think that we’d do anything possible to support a sick family member, right? Well, 18-year-old Maddie Sabourin has truly stepped up to the plate by surprising her grandfather with the news that she is a match for his kidney transplant.
Sabourin tells Babble that her grandfather, Sam Senseney, 63, “went into renal failure 10 years ago due to his diabetes and high blood pressure. Six years ago he went into end-stage renal failure, was placed on the transplant list, and started dialysis.”
The search for a kidney donor has been a long one for Senseney, who has been looking for a match for six years. You can only imagine his surprise when his very own granddaughter was able to fulfill this wish. For Sabourin, this endeavor was a long time coming.
“I have been a contestant in Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant for the past two years. In this program, you have to have a platform (a cause you want to raise awareness for) and I chose live organ donation. Through learning and advocating for kidney disease, I chose that when I turned 18 I wanted to check and see if I was a match. “
The teen was fueled by her love for her grandfather at first, but after educating herself on kidney disease and organ donations, she really became invested. CBS 46 notes that Sabourin has raised $7,500 for the American Kidney Fund in the hope that her grandfather would receive a transplant. Senseney’s family and friends had been tested as potential donors, but sadly, no one was a match.
It has been difficult for Sabourin to see her grandfather go through this process. She told CBS 46, “Watching Papa just be on the transplant list for the past six years has been super hard. We’ve always been really close.” So, we can only imagine how thrilled she was to become a donor herself.
“The day after my 18th birthday, I called the hospital and began the process to become a donor,” she recalls. She was even more excited to find out that she was, in fact, an eligible match.
“I was ecstatic when the doctors told me I was a match for my grandfather. To know that after two years of advocating and raising money and awareness for organ donation, I get to donate to my grandfather was an amazing feeling,” Sabourin says.
Despite the fact that doctors felt she was simply too young to donate an organ, Sabourin persevered. The duo is set to find out Thursday when the surgery is. “We are hoping for some time before the end of the month,” she says.
The best part of this whole story (aside from Senseney getting the chance to live a healthy life) is that he was truly surprised by his granddaughter. Sabourin presented her grandfather with an adorable “moving day” note to let him know she was his match.
Senseney couldn’t believe it!
“I had been keeping this entire thing a secret from him so he was very caught off guard and surprised, but he was very excited and thankful,” the teen explains. “He is excited to get his old life back.”
And how special that it’s all thanks to his beloved granddaughter! Props to you Maddie, you’re truly a lifesaver.
h/t: CBS 46More On