Facebook Friendship Saves Man's Life

By Doug Shimell and Karen Araiza
|  Friday, Jul 8, 2011  |  Updated 9:55 PM EDT
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Rekindling a friendship after twenty years turned out to be a lifesaver, literally for Rick Fosnot in North Wales, Pa.

NBC Philadelphia, Doug Shimell

Rekindling a friendship after twenty years turned out to be a lifesaver, literally for Rick Fosnot in North Wales, Pa.

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Polycystic Kidney Disease suddenly put Rick Fosnot on dialysis and on a kidney transplant waiting list that was six years long.

"They deter mind that my kidneys had shut down and I went in for an emergency surgery. Two kidneys gone? Gone!" said the North Wales husband and father.

At the same time, Janine Sansom was looking Rick up on Facebook.

"He was the cool lifeguard at the pool that we all followed as kids, and he yelled at us all summer long," she recalled.

When she found out Rick's dilemma, Janine says she quietly got tested and matched as a kidney donor. Rick was stunned.

"I just remember thinking, if my husband needed a kidney, I hoped someone else would come forward. And I figured I had an extra one. I didn't need it," Janine said.

Rick had to make sure it was what she really wanted.

"Because it's not like you're cutting off your hair for someone and it grows back! You're giving something up," he said.

This past week, Rick and Janine lay in separate operating rooms at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania for a transplant between friends who hadn't seen each other in more than twenty years. When they woke up, they were linked forever.

"Angel is the one word we use for her. She made all this stuff work," Rick said. His wife Holly got her husband back, courtesy the internet.

"It's a wonderful story, and we have Facebook to thank for that," she said.

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