Lake area community member donates kidney to local police officer

Shane Pierce hugs Cortney Powell after learning she was a match as a kidney donor. Pierce had been diagnosed with kidney disease in 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Lake Ozark Police Department) 

Surprises come in many forms.

For Lake Ozark Police Detective Shane Pierce, a surprise came in the form of kidney disease two years ago.

"I just thought I was getting older. I'm 43 now, was 40 at the time I was diagnosed, I just thought this was what 40 felt like," said Pierce.

In 2015, Pierce was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, a disorder in which antibodies build up in the kidneys to keep them from functioning.

For those without a kidney transplant, patients are subjected to a lifetime of dialysis or death. According to statistics provided by the national organ sharing network, 96,700 people were waiting for a kidney donor as of Wednesday.

"It's kind of a big thing to learn that okay, well this is possibly a fatal disease," said Pierce.

Pierce and his wife, Lacey, created a Facebook page in 2016 with the hope of finding an organ donor. A post created in March of 2016 describes Pierce as a caring father of four who has dedicated his life to helping others.

Pierce is actively involved in community functions with the Lake Ozark Police Department. He's been involved with the area's National Night Out, Shop with a Cop, and has spent several years helping with the lake's Youth Police Academy in the summer time.

After being on the kidney transplant waiting list for a year, Pierce was given another surprise. This time, in the form of Cortney Powell.

Like Pierce, Powell is also married with four children. Like Pierce, Powell is also active in the lake area community. As an employee in asset protection at the Osage Beach Target, Powell was acquainted with Pierce through the area's charity events.

"I don't know how it happened, one day I just felt like I could do more," said Powell. In June, after checking Pierce's Facebook page, she learned they shared the same blood type. She then began the process of checking to see if she was a match for Pierce without him knowing. In August, she learned she was a match.

She said she considered sending him a card or writing him a note to let him know, but instead, she decided to surprise him. She and the Lake Ozark Police Department staged a fake awards ceremony for Pierce at city hall, initially telling him he would be honored for his work with the Youth Police Academy.

Pierce said he recalls what he was thinking when he first saw Powell standing at the front row.

"I didn't really know, I thought she might be there to give me a Target gift card," said Pierce, chuckling.

Instead of an award, Powell handed him an envelope, with a card inside with their pictures and "IT'S A MATCH" scrawled across the top.

In a video taken of the moment, Pierce reads the inside, and walks over to Powell to give her a hug.

"I was pretty shocked. It was this big weight lifted off [my] chest," said Pierce. "I just don't know how you could ever say thank you for something like that. I tell everybody the same thing: thank you is not a sufficient word."

Pierce said the transplant will take place sometime at the end of the year.

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