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'He gave me my life back' | Anne Allred celebrates anniversary of kidney donation

Three years ago, Anne's friend donated his kidney and changed her life
Credit: Anne Allred
Anne Allred celebrates anniversary of kidney donation with her husband Drew (center) and kidney donor Mike (left)

ST. LOUIS — 5 On Your Side's Anne Allred celebrated the three-year anniversary of her kidney transplant.

Anne posted a photo on Facebook with her kidney donor, Mike, and her husband Drew. 

“This weekend marked 3 years since my kidney transplant surgery!!!" Anne wrote on Monday. "I am the luckiest woman in the world! My husband and I celebrated with my donor, Mike. Your health is the greatest gift. If it weren’t for Mike I wouldn’t be able to be the mom I am to Nora, or the daughter/wife/friend I am to all the other special people in my life. He gave me my life back. Please register to be an organ donor!”

In the summer of 2016, Anne gave birth to her daughter Nora. The pregnancy triggered a genetic disease.

Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome created blood clots that shut down her kidneys. For months, she spent eight hours on dialysis every night.

"I set it up all before I go to work because you have to have sterile hands, sterile connections," Anne said at the time. "I have a tube in my stomach, I plug into the machine for 8 hours and I try to go to sleep during that time."

But Anne had a hero, a close friend who went through testing and was a perfect match.

Michael Zangara texted Anne the good news.

"She called me screaming, laughing and crying," Zangara said. "I wish I would have taped recorded it because it was one of the most surreal, awesome experiences I ever had. Cause I love Anne," he said. "And I love her husband and it was important for me to share this gift."

"What am I supposed to say?" she asked. "This whole time, I just felt guilty that I can't say enough to him."

"That's when it actually hit me, when she just said, 'Thank you, thank you for a second chance at life,'" Zangara said.

Since the transplant, Anne has been an advocate for organ donation. 

For more information on organ donation, visit organdonor.gov.

If you would like to start a discussion about organ donation with your family, Mid-America Transplant has information on how to get started.

RELATED: KSDK's Anne Allred to get kidney transplant

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It was shortly after 6 a.m. at Barnes-Jewish hospital and if they took an x-ray of Anne Allred, you'd probably see the butterflies. "I'm very nervous but I have to do it," she said. Anyone would be anxious before a major surgery, but on that day, Anne Allred was getting a new kidney and her old life back.