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Fargo McDonald's co-worker donates kidney to friend

Susan Hynes, left, and Vikki Munro were smiling this week after Hynes donated a kidney to Munro. The two friends work together at a Fargo McDonald's. (Dave Wallis/The Forum)

Vikki Munro is lovin' her new kidney.

Susan Hynes, a friend and fellow manager at the McDonald's restaurant on 19th Avenue North in Fargo, donated one of her kidneys to Munro.

"I'll never be able to thank her for her generosity to me," Munro said. 'I haven't felt this good in seven years."

Munro, 42, said her health problems are from a birth defect. Her kidneys were smaller than normal when she was born.

The Fargo woman has been in and out of the hospital since she was 4 years old, she said. In 2002, her cousin donated a kidney.

"As soon as I woke up from surgery in intensive care, all I heard was it was failing," Munro said.

She's had multiple surgeries over the past seven years to try to keep thatkidney functioning. She started dialysis in May.

This fall, Hynes, 34, from Barnesville, Minn., offered one of her kidneys to Munro.

"It's hard for me to even ask anything," Munro said.

"She doesn't like to ask for help," Hynes said.

But Munro said if Hynes was willing to do it, she was happy to accept. Dialysis had "wrecked" her.

The transplant surgery was Jan. 14 at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo. "The next day the surgeon told me, 'You gave her a very good kidney,' " Hynes said.

Hynes is modest about her gift. She said she just wanted to help. "I don't like to see people sick," she said. "She's gone through a lot.

"She's a special friend. I love her. She's a sweetheart," Hynes said of Munro.

The two co-workers hit it off when Hynes started working there more than four years ago. Munro, a nine-year employee, trained her.

Hynes said she had to save up money before the surgery so she could take time off her two jobs. She recently returned to work as a cashier at a Barnesville gas station, and planned to start at McDonald's this week. Munro is taking off the next month.

Since the surgery, the two say they've grown closer. They exchange text messages frequently, and are planning to go to the Nickelback concert May 27 at the Fargodome.

According to Tom Sell, MeritCare Transplant Services manager, over the past five years, 14 out of 146 kidney transplants performed at the Fargo hospital were between friends. Another 15 individuals who donated were connected but not related to the recipient, such as a spouse or in-law.

Hynes spent two days in the hospital after the transplant. Munro spent four. Their rooms were on the same floor.

"Before her surgery, she was pale, sickly looking," Hynes said. "The first time I seen her after the surgery, she had color in her face, she looked better."

"She gave me a good one," Munro said.

"I gave her a good one. And I still have a good one," Hynes said.