Pilot Trades 'Kidney for Lasagna'

She and flight attendant are back to work 5 months after the transplant
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2017 10:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Four years ago, the home of Alaska Airlines pilot Jodi Harskamp burned down. Alaska Airlines flight attendant Jenny Stansel was one of the first people to come by, with a lasagna in hand. "She said, 'you don’t know me but here is some love,'" Harskamp recalls to ABC News. The two became friends, and four years later, when Stansel's chronic kidney disease got so bad she needed a kidney transplant, Harskamp stepped up. "All of the people say wow, kidney for lasagna, that a huge trade," Harskamp jokes. Adds Stansel, "It was made with love, it was a really good lasagna." Now, almost five months after the successful March transplant, both the captain and the flight attendant are back to work in the skies.

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They flew their first post-transplant flight together on July 23. Their friendship has grown since the transplant, with Stansel on hand at the finish line of the Mount Marathon Race in Alaska June 24, during which Harskamp climbed a 3,000-foot mountain. Her sign read: "My kidney's other half is on that mountain." They're also working together to educate others on the importance of organ donation. It's a mission that is particularly important to Harskamp, whose mother was passionate about organ donation but was unable to donate any of her own organs because she died of brain cancer, KTUU reports. "There is nothing more fulfilling as a human being than to help another human being live," Harskamp says. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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