SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Tuesday night on Breaking the News we introduced you to Jamie Bernhardt, who is helping her cousin Cassie Amsler find a kidney in a very unique way, with a sign.

RELATED: Big sign greets MN State Fair visitors with a lifesaving message

This HUGE sign can be found outside the main gates of the Minnesota State Fair.

Jamie thought, with more than 2-million people visiting the fair each year, there was no better way to get her message out there.

Turns out, she was right.

The sign definitely caught our attention here at KARE 11.

And our story has now grabbed the attention of many of our viewers who want to help.

Our Facebook post was shared hundreds of times and our web article has been one of the most viewed stories all week.

RELATED: Local woman wears t-shirt at MN State Fair to find kidney

So, we thought, we should probably take the story a step further, and introduce our viewers to the woman, behind the woman, behind the sign.

Cassie Amsler agreed to an interview and graciously sat down with KARE 11 News reporter Gordon Severson to share her story:

GORDON

“Did you know your cousin was doing this with the sign?”

CASSIE AMSLER

“She did tell me that she took a day off work and she was going to do it. I told her she was nuts.”

GORDON
“Did you get a chance to see our story?”

CASSIE
“I did, of course. I’m just very grateful that she went out and did that for me when she didn’t have to do that.”

GORDON
“There was a moment in the story, during my interview with Jamie, where it was very emotional. I even got emotional. She started crying and said, “family is everything.” And she talked about her love for you. How did you react to that?

CASSIE
“I got emotional as well while watching it. She’s just huge, such a big heart. If it wasn’t for her this whole thing wouldn’t even be out there.”

GORDON
“Now that we’re getting to meet the woman, behind the woman, behind the sign, we want to hear more about your story.”

CASSIE

“Well, it started when I was about 18. I had symptoms for like a month. My arms were tingly, it was hard to breathe. I also had these large purple bruises on my legs. They told me right there that I had end stage kidney failure. My kidneys were only working at 20-30% and they wanted me to get in that night and start dialysis.”

GORDON
“And when did you eventually get a new kidney?”

CASSIE
“15 months later I got my first transplant from my cousin Troy.”

GORDON
“And when did that kidney start to fail?”

CASSIE
“That was, probably in 2016. That’s when everything kind of started happening.”

GORDON
“So now you’re back on dialysis?”

CASSIE
“Yep, it has been three years, three years as of August 1st. I go three times a week for three hours each time. I have liquid restrictions, which is probably the hardest thing for me. Everything I eat I have to watch. I can’t even sleep on my normal side that I normally sleep on. It’s a lot, and I get drained from it.”

GORDON

“And your cousin Jamie told me that because of your unique situation, finding a kidney this time will be more than difficult than the first time?”

CASSIE
“Yes, when they tried to save my kidney the first time, they put stents in my bladder. It worked for a while, but I eventually had an ulcer, and I lost a lot of blood from that and I actually almost died. And that is now making it harder for me to find another kidney, because I had to get four bags of blood and all those people’s antibodies are something I can’t have now to find my next kidney.”

GORDON
“So, finding a match, it’s not just about you anymore, but you have also find a match for everyone else too?”

CASSIE
“Right. They say 100% is the hardest to get a kidney transplant, the most difficult to find the right match, and I’m at 74%.”

GORDON

“Wow. So, it’s not going to be easy.”

CASSIE
“I came close once. A woman was a close match. There are six antibodies you have to match, and she was one away. They told me she was a 90% match, but I need 100%”

GORDON
“Was it hard for you to come so close?”

CASSIE

“You know, waiting already that long, at that point it was almost three years already, and then getting somebody, I was like, this has gotta be it. So, yeah, it was disappointing, but I’ll find a kidney when I’m supposed to.”

GORDON
“Do you have more hope now after seeing how people are reacting to your story?”

CASSIE

“Yes, it’s just been amazing. I can’t believe everybody has been sharing it and commenting. It’s amazing. I actually spent four hours on my page that night writing people back and going and looking at everything. It’s amazing to see people care.”

GORDON
“Yeah, with so much going on in the world these days, does this sort of restore your faith in humanity?”

CASSIE
“Right! Exactly! I’m so glad to see that people still care and there are still good people out there. It means a lot and it does give me some hope for the future.”

GORDON
“That somewhere there’s a match?”

CASSIE
“Yes! So that some day I can drink all the water again, do everything I can’t do, and eat everything, eat food, and chocolate, and not get in trouble with the doctors (Cassie laughs). It’s also really hard for going on vacation. I have to be close to a place where I can do my dialysis. We were going to go on a trip coming up here, but we had to cancel because it was too far away.”

GORDON
“Do you have a lot of support here at home?”

CASSIE
“My husband Justin has been great. And my step-son Jordan made me some fliers I can hand out. It’s really cool to see how much he cares.”

GORDON
“What are you hoping people will take away from all of this?”

CASSIE
“If anything, I hope people know that you have two kidneys and you only need one. And there are so many people waiting out there. They might not look sick, but they are.”


Cassie would like to thank all our viewers who shared her story on social media this week.

The organ donation center she goes through is also grateful.

They're getting a ton of calls right now, but they're also getting a lot of questions about the donation process.

So, we’ve decided to answer those questions in a follow up story Friday night on Breaking the News.

If you have any questions about organ donation, send them to KARE-11 Reporter Gordon Severson, either by email at gseverson@kare11.com or through his Twitter handle, @GordonSeverson

We’ll try to answer as many questions as we can during our upcoming segment Friday night.