Former Tiverton High School Athlete Donates Kidney to Former Coach
Bethanie Ferguson was coaching field hockey in the fall of 2006 when she formed a strong bond with her mid-fielder, Rachel Motta. The two women stayed close friends since then. Bethanie, who describes their friendship as “genuine,” says that they hit it off from day one. “Our friendship has grown through the years and now consider her and her family my family.”
Ferguson found out that she had Alports Disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects the kidneys, back in 2005. “When my sister was told she needed a kidney transplant they sent us for genetic testing. My doctor told me it may never progress or it may that we’d have to use the sit back and wait approach.”
It wasn’t until May of this year that routine blood work turned into a transfer to the transplant clinic at Rhode Island Hospital. “That is when my doctor told me to ‘ask those friends that wanted to donate to get tested.’”
Ferguson had a million thoughts running through her head at that time. “I have a two-year-old. Was I going to be able to watch him grow? How do you go about asking someone to give you an organ? Are there people even willing to do this for me?” Ferguson ended up asking three people, including Motta, and each one stepped up to get tested. “I was lucky enough to have all three of them be a match. I left the rest to my doctors to decide the next steps.”
Motta, who describes the friendship as “unbreakable,” did not bat an eye and went through all the testing right away.
It was extremely hard to keep it a secret for so long. I just wanted to make sure all systems were a go before telling her. I knew she had been waiting for a kidney and was starting to get nervous, so I wanted to make sure everything was 100%. The testing was a long process, nothing too difficult though, and if I had to or could, I would do it all over again.
Motta was beyond excited to find out that she got the green light, and wanted to tell Ferguson the news in a big way. “I was thinking of ways to present her with the kidney and I wasn't exactly sure of how to do it. So, I did what most people do and I turned to Google. I saw an image of an "adoption roadmap" and stole the idea.”
Needless to say, Ferguson was overwhelmed with emotion.
When I found out Rachel had lied to me for a month I had the sigh of relief. The weight had been lifted off my shoulders…Having her go through the process for me says a lot about her character and the type of person Rachel is. There are no words that I can say that can thank her for doing this for me. She’s giving me a second chance at life. A life to spend watching my son grow. This means the world to me that someone so selfless is willing to give up an organ to save my life. There aren’t many people in the world that would do that for someone and here’s Rachel, no questions asked, in it right from the beginning.
The two friends will have the surgery on Monday, November 5. We wish you all the best, and many years to continue this beautiful friendship.