CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - JoAnn Thomas was in her early 40s when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney disease, a result of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Doctors told her she needed to go on dialysis, but, that wasn't her only life changing news.
She would eventually need a transplant. "I just fell down and started crying," explained Thomas.
JoAnn underwent dialysis for a year. Three times a week, four hours a day to rid her body of the toxins.
And then her prayers were answered: her husband William turned out to be a perfect match for a transplant. William became her donor.
"It's not a lot of people that step up to that plate and say that they want to help you with part of their own body. It was very emotional," said Thomas.
"It's hard. It's not an easy thing to do...Don't give up. Try as hard as you can and hopefully everything will come out alright," said JoAnn's husband William Thomas.
JoAnn's donated kidney lasted for 14-years.. She's since been back on dialysis for five years.
She says the expense of anti-rejection medication can be overwhelming. She exhausted her resources, so she turned to the Kidney Foundation of Ohio seeking help through their Medication Assistance program.
"When you go there you get help, and after you get help you have hope," said Thomas.
Hope, as she continues her battle.
Her faith and her husband keep her strong along with knowing that there's an organization out there that she can lean on in difficult times.