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S.C. medic loses 125 pounds to donate kidney to niece

Sara Cathey said her colleagues at Beaufort County EMS, the fire department and the emergency department supported her


Photos/Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services

By Leila Merrill

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. — A South Carolina paramedic lost 125 pounds in order to donate a kidney to her 2-year-old niece, WSAV reported Monday.

Sara Cathey, who works for Beaufort EMS was devastated to learn that her beloved niece Natalyn had a genetic condition that almost killed her.

“She had a double nephrectomy” last year Cathey said.

All the family members took tests to see if they would be a donor match.

“You never think it’s going to be you,” Cathey said. “I am out here every day with strangers. I love these strangers. I really enjoy being a paramedic, helping people. I get emotionally invested with these complete strangers. So I can’t really explain how much it really hits when it’s her.”

Cathey was a perfect match, but she weighed 270 pounds at the time and was not fit enough for the donation.

“There was nothing that was going to stand in my way,” said Cathey.

Her colleagues were with her.

“I had a great support team, my family 110% stood behind me,” said Cathey. “My co-workers, they are eating salads with me. The fire department is eating salads with me. The ER department is hiding the snacks so I don’t eat them when I come in.”

Through diet and exercise, she lost 125 pounds in just over a year and was cleared for surgery.

The procedure is planned for next week.

“She’s got her second chance and we are doing it,” Cathey said.

Natalyn will stay in the hospital for a matter of weeks, and her aunt will be off work for two or three months to recover.

Cathey also organized a fundraiser to help with expenses.