It’s rare that a situation arises where you can save a friend’s life.
It’s rarer still that you can transform yours too in the process.
But that’s what happened to Rebekah Ceidro when she saw a Facebook post by friend and former colleague Chris Moore.
A lifelong sufferer of kidney disease, the 30-year-old Chris had been given some bad news – that within a year he would need a transplant or dialysis.
“I just kept seeing the post and it would tug at my heart,” Rebekah told Today.
“I didn’t see any call for action. I didn’t see any people saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ And I just thought I had to do something.”
Rebekah contacted Chris, where they found out they shared the same blood type.
As this meant she could be donor match, Rebekah visited the medical team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to begin the process.
Unfortunately, at 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 213 pounds, she was too heavy to be a donor.
To minimize the risks of complications and lessen recovery time, she would have to lose around 15 pounds.
As Rebekah explained to Today, “Admittedly, I was really angry that two individual surgeons would have the audacity to say such a thing, but they were right.
“My actual thought was, ‘I’m too fat to save my friend’s life.’ And that sucked, but that’s at least something you can change.”
And so change it she did.
After downloading a number of apps to help monitor her nutrition and fitness, she signed up for a 5k race hosted by Eat’n Park, the restaurant where she worked as manager.
It’s a restaurant where, previously, she would often just “drop something in the fryer” when she got hungry.
Running a 5k so soon into her fitness plan was a challenge for Rebekah, but it was one she thrived on.
“I thought, ‘This is what I’m going to do, I’m going to start running and keep running until I can do a 5K every day.”
And she didn’t stop there.
She soon found herself running up to four miles per day and now includes weight training in her workouts too.
The goal of losing 15 pounds was smashed almost three times over as her total loss reached 40 pounds.
Even the 5k has been superseded as a running achievement; Rebekah finished the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon in three hours 14 minutes.
Still waiting for the transplant, Chris sees Rebekah as an inspiration as well as a donor.
“I use her courage to give myself courage. If she can do this, then I can do this,” he told Today.
Doctors are preparing the pair for surgery within three to six months.
For Rebekah, who hopes to run the Pittsburgh Marathon in May 2018, what started out as a transplant has become a full-scale life transformation.
via Today | Images Rebekah Ceido & University of Pittsburgh Medical Center