HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Lisa Cochran owns the Studio Salon in Hattiesburg and she's an organ donor. For the past five years, Cochran has been a member of a professional organization of salon owners and that is where she met Domenic Cicala. He owns two salons in Maryland.
Cochran said, "We knew each others business practices and there is about fifteen of us from around the country. But this past year we learned of his poly cystic disease and that his kidneys were failing."
Through text messages and e-mail Cochran learned Cicala was on a list to receive a kidney transplant.
"Unfortunately only 25% of the people that are on those lists actually make it through and so he had five years best case scenario on dialysis waiting for a kidney," said Cochran.
Lisa Cochran started seriously contemplating being a kidney donor in September and by November first of this year, she was at the hospital ready for her operation. Fueling her decision to become a kidney donor were other changes Cochran had recently made in her life.
"The neat thing was last year I started cleaning up my eating habits, I started exercising and over a period of less than a year I've lost 51 pounds, I ran a marathon on October ninth. Anybody who knows me knows I don't like to sweat but it was something that I can look back now and see it was for a greater cause and a greater purpose," said Cochran.
After some tests Cochran was found to be compatible as Cicala's donor and the surgery took place at Washington Center Hospital in Washington DC.
According to Cochran, "Joyful , that is the word that I can say describes it. Because there was no fear, I knew it was part of a much bigger plan and I get emotional talking about it because it's the greatest thing you can do to help somebody that is in that situation is to give them an organ and a chance to live."
As for Cicala's health, he said by phone that he feels great now and is back at work.
Cochran said, "To see somebody go from just a chalky white skin with very little hope in their eyes or their countenance and to see him literally within less than 24 hours of the transplant see those cheeks pink up and to see the eye, the sparkle come back it's worth everything."
Domenic Cicala said Cochran is a true hero and the need for organ donors continues.