NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s a story about sisters who consider the other to be their best friend. Two women have seen their share of tough times together. Now, their close bond is taking one of them to a national event.
Pushing herself on a day at the gym, Brittany Anderson was on the battle ropes. As always, little sister Brooke was right beside her. This is how it’s been since their days playing with Barbies.
“She loved me so much, even when she outgrew them, she kept playing with me,” Brooke laughed.
“I wanted to make her happy, so, of course!” added Brittany.
“I remember wanting to be just like her,” Brooke continued. “Anything she did, I wanted to do. I’d follow her around everywhere.”
“I love her so much,” said Brooke. “I’d do anything for her.”
Type 1 diabetes has caused health complications for much of Brooke’s life. Then came a hard diagnosis. Brooke’s kidney was failing, and she needed a transplant.
“I was scared,” Brooke said. “I was scared. I was worried. I didn’t know what type of future that meant.”
As it turns out, Brooke wouldn’t have to wait long to find a kidney donor.
“I said, ‘that’s me. That’s my turn,'” said Brittany. “‘I’m doing all the testing. I don’t care what it takes. I’m giving you my kidney.'”
“I said, ‘Brittany, I’m scared,'” Brooke said. “‘I don’t want you to feel like you have to do this. I don’t want you to go through this.’ She’s like, ‘are you kidding me?’ She never wavered in her willingness and excitement to do this for me. It was just crazy.”
After a successful transplant in December, Brooke and Brittany were at the Wellness Center at Ascension Saint Thomas West on Monday morning. The team was helping Brooke train to compete in next year’s Transplant Games of America.
“She’s beasting it,” Brittany smiled. “Ever since the transplant, she’s been glowing.”
“I love challenges!” Brooke added.
Brooke’s not sure of what her event will be just yet, but she’s considering the 5K, tennis, pickleball and cycling. Whatever Brooke chooses, she said it will be to honor the gift Brittany gave her.
“I’d do it a thousand times over if I had to,” Brittany said. “That’s my best friend.”
“She’s the best,” Brooke said. “She is the best. For your role model to save your life, my dedication is unlimited.”
Brooke is taking part in the Kidney Wellness Program held at the Wellness Center at Ascension Saint Thomas West.
In this free gift to patients, exercise physiologists work with those patients one-on-one before and after a kidney transplant.
“We want to set them up to be healthy and strong in their bodies and as fully functional in their lives as we can possibly get them,” said transplant social worker Rick Hunter.
The program is made possible through a partnership with the Ascension Saint Thomas Foundation, the Kidney Wellness Clinic, and the Wellness Center at Ascension Saint Thomas West.