Retired Bakersfield City School bus driver to donate kidney to former co-worker

Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 11:24:31-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Sharon Kruse, 69, and Diane Gonzalez, 68, are one week away from embarking on a life-changing journey together, as the two are set to undergo surgery.

Gonzalez has been waiting on the kidney transplant list for more than three years.

"One of the factors about being on the national transplant list is that in the state of California it was five to seven years and the wait time now is seven to ten years, so a live donor is the best way to go," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez and Kruse are now both retired from the Bakersfield City School District, where they both worked together for many years.

Kruse was the school bus driver and Gonzalez was the school secretary at Jefferson Middle School, when the two first met almost thirty years ago.

But in 2019 their paths crossed again, when they needed to.

"Coincidentally I was driving by where her friend lived and she was coming back with me and we sat and we talked, and I was telling her what was going on with me and that I had been on dialysis at that time for over two years and that I was looking for a kidney and I am on the transplant list," Gonzalez said. "She so unselfishly offered to give me her kidney."

Gonzalez was in shock that her former coworker and friend was willing to step up in such a way, to change her life forever.

"She kept asking me what type are you and I said, 'I'm an A' and Sharon said 'I am an A too!'."

The two were both a match and after Gonzalez spent more than three years of waiting for a kidney, both her and Kruse finally got the call from doctors. The two were in good shape to move forward with the transplant.

"We're kidney buddies for life," Gonzalez said.

The two are now set to head to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona next Wednesday where they will undergo transplant surgery.

"I am so blessed and so many prayers have been answered by having Sharon come into my life," Gonzalez said.

23ABC News will continue to follow the journey of the "Kidney Buddies."