Casper Woman Saves Her Stepdad's Life

April was Donate Life Month and in Wyoming, nearly 200 people await a life-saving organ transplant. Nationally, a name is added to that list every 2 minutes.

News 13 met with one Casper woman who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Shea Bicknese says, "It's one of those things. God absolutely put it on my heart. I'd wake up thinking about it, go to bed thinking about it, think about it during the day. I just couldn't let it go."

She thought about her stepdad daily. He was suffering from renal failure. "My dad's name is Dean. He's an avid fisherman and he's a mechanic."

He had been on dialysis for nearly five years. That's when Bicknese decided to step up. Bicknese says, "At first he didn't want the kidney from his daughter because he was thinking about my future and what my future would have but I just let him know, what's the best part of Christmas? Receiving or giving?"

It wasn't a quick or easy decision. She had thought about donating her kidney for some time. Bicknese adds, "I did. I had thought about donating about a year before I actually donated and it just wasn't right."

In January of 2015, she was sure. From there, she spent two weeks in the hospital and out of work. She says she gained a new respect for nurses. Her stepdad got a second chance at life. She says, "He doesn't have to go to dialysis anymore so that frees up a lot of his time."

Bicknese now works with Donor Alliance as an advocate for living donation. Alison Gillum, Community Relations Coordinator for Donor Alliance says, "One of the most important things for people to know is that anybody can register to be a donor regardless of your age, health or medical status."

So Bicknese may be down one kidney but she says she got something far better in return. "He calls me his angel. He is step-dad so we weren't blood but we are organ now," she says.