“Sisters For Life”
How far would you go to help a friend in need?
Well, when Martha Dazzio found out her sorority sister Susannah Cleveland was about to go on dialysis and needed a kidney, Dazzio did not hesitant.
So, this past January, Dazzio donated her kidney to her friend.
Starting at Auburn University, both Cleveland and Dazzio didn’t realize both of their lives would change forever.
“We met at Auburn during sorority rush. I’m a year older than Martha and she was one of our top rushees in Kappa Delta and she pledged our sorority and we became really good friends,” said Cleveland.
An instant connection.
“We shared clothes, we dated friends and we were always together my whole career at Auburn was Susannah. She was always there for me,” said Dazzio.
They were roommates Martha’s senior year and Susannah would go home with Martha almost every holiday.
“It was probably the best year of my life, no offense to my family, (laughs)” said Dazzio.
So, after graduating college, getting married and both having kids, their friendship never fizzled out.
One day Cleveland sent her old roommates a group text that they’ll never forget.
Susannah started to become extremely ill in her 20s. She was getting bad headaches and had high blood pressure.
Her father passed away from a genetic kidney disease and Susannah had a 50% chance of getting it.
At the peak of her life, she found out she had the disease and at 44, Susannah’s kidney was only functioning at a 15% rate.
“She just on a text said y’all they put me on the donor list and that was it. She never talked about it,” said Dazzio.
That’s when Dazzio told her she wanted to be her donor.
“Susannah is that kind of person that will do anything for you. When I told her I wanted to get tested for her to give her my kidney, she was worried about me because of my family. I told her there were enough kidney’s among my kids if they needed to swap it around if needed (laughs). The first thing I said, she would have done it for me and she said I would. So, there was never a doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be a match because I knew that’s what it was going to be,” said Dazzio.
Dazzio got tested and the medical staff said it was a miracle, she was a perfect match.
“They called me our nurse in charge of our case and she was crying and said Martha, it’s a miracle. You are as close as blood relatives,”said Dazzio.
They found out around Thanksgiving 2016 and scheduled the surgery for January 2017.
“Our whole lives had built up to that one moment where we could share that. It was emotional,” said Dazzio.
The surgery was successful and Dazzio’s kidney is functioning perfectly in Cleveland.
“The kidney started working immediately and the doctor said that Martha was built to give her a kidney and that they were a perfect match. That was a God thing because we aren’t related and my family didn’t match. It was amazing that she was just a perfect match. It changed my life,” said Cleveland.
Cleveland said she is forever grateful.
“She saved my life. She doesn’t like to say that, but she did and improved my quality of life for sure. To have a friend willing to do that is an awesome thing. You can have a million friends, but not a lot of them would do what Martha did,” said Cleveland.
An experience they shared together that they’ll always cherish.
“To save someone’s life is the best gift you can give. It’s truly a miracle,” said Dazzio.
Both Dazzio and Cleveland are now big advocates for others to donate a kidney.
Dazzio said they are both a living testimony of how successful it can be and how fairly easy the surgery and process is.
They say many people, especially in Alabama, are in need of a kidney and you can change someone’s life, like how Dazzio changed Cleveland’s.