Melody Nesbit, 18 and just a few months out of Fort Mill High School, snuck around behind her momma's back. But that sneakiness just might save Sarah Nesbit's life.
Melody Nesbit secretly had medical tests done to determine if she can give her mother a kidney.
Yes, a kidney, out of her body.
"The only reason I waited until now is you have to be 18 years old to do it," Melody said between text messages. Teens today communicate in short text blasts - except when teens tell doctors that, yes, you can cut me open, take out an organ, and give my mother a chance at a normal life.
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"I knew since I was about 9 years old I wanted to do this. Now, I can."
Her mother, Sarah, and father, Jason, are just plain overcome.
"I knew we raised a good girl, but this is really a time for giving thanks," said Jason Nesbit.
Sarah, who will get her daughter's kidney on Wednesday, put it even more bluntly: "My daughter is giving me a part of herself. I am just - how do you describe it, other than love?"
The journey to next week's transplant surgery started when Sarah became pregnant with the couple's second child, Ernie, who is now 10. Doctors told Sarah a heart murmur and other blood problems would worsen because of the second child, but a mother's love trumps all. Ernie came, premature but otherwise healthy. But Sarah was not healthy.
Her kidneys failed soon afterward, and she started dialysis. Her condition became progressively worse. For years, every day, she has to have the impurities cleaned from her system because the kidneys do not do it. She had open heart surgery to boot. The last few years, Sarah has been on a transplant list.
She was on the list until a few weeks ago, when the mail came from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Because it was hospital mail, Sarah presumed it was hers. She tore open the envelope, expecting another bill, and found a letter thanking her for her interest in donating a kidney. She looked at the front of the envelope. It was addressed to Melody Nesbit, not Sarah.
That's when Melody admitted she had snuck to the doctors and been tested to see if she was a match.
"I just about lost it; my daughter is hiding the fact that she wants to give me a kidney," Sarah said. "I became scared to death. Not for me, for her."
Melody, a former softball standout at Fort Mill High, then admitted to her mother that is why she delayed starting college at USC-Lancaster this fall - because she knew the surgery was coming.
Sarah, a teenager first and foremost, put the surgery into the perspective of someone who expects to live forever, as all teens do.
"I am a match," Melody said. "She's my mom. She gave me what I have - both my parents have. I give back. I give a kidney."
Today at the family home in Fort Mill, Jason will take a day off from fixing cars at the family's mechanic shop, Best Way Automotive in Rock Hill. Everybody will eat. Melody and her mother will watch what they eat and make sure nobody gets even a sniffle, as that will postpone any surgery.
"I would say it looks like we have a lot to be thankful for," said Jason Nesbit.
His wife, about to get a kidney from her daughter, added, "more than thankful. Joyous. We will be praying this week, too."
And Melody, the donor, will do what teenaged girls do. She will spend as much time in front of a mirror as is humanly possible. She will text message almost non-stop. She will talk to friends and spend time with her family, including relatives coming in from other states.
Then she will pack her bag for a 10-day stay in a hospital, starting early next week, in which she will go in with two kidneys and come home with one.
"But my mom will have the other one," Melody said. "I can handle it. No biggie."