Memphis nursing student helps save life of Arizona teen

A second chance at life.

A teenager in Arizona says she is alive today because of a selfless act from a nursing student in Memphis.

When Olivia Kink turned 18, she registered with DMKS, a blood cell donation center, through a simple cheek swab.

A few years later, she found out that she was the perfect match for a teen who was battling a rare condition.

Last week, they had the chance to meet for the first time at a conference in Orlando.

“I’ve been trying to find the words. But I don’t think there are words unless you’ve been able to meet the recipient and know that you saved their life,” Kink said.

As a nursing student in Memphis, Kink always knew she wanted to help people.

In February 2020, she got a call from a DMKS representative that would change her life.

“He introduces himself and he said, ‘I just want to let you know you are a match for a girl that has HLH, and she is 15.’”

That girl was Katie Amdal.

Amdal is battling HLH, a rare blood condition where a person’s immune system attacks their organs.

Doctors told Amdal she needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.

“It was kind of scary at first because I never really had any health problems so when it showed up, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Amdal said.

Without hesitation, Kink went through the process and donated her stem cells, ultimately saving Amdal’s life.

The two had a special opportunity to meet at a conference in Orlando last week, where Amdal gave kink a special gift.

“The back of one has my name and on the back of the other has her name and it has the date of my transplant,” Amdal said.

Matching necklaces, connecting their hearts forever.

The transplant may have saved Amdal’s life. But for Kink, it gave her life purpose.

“Just knowing it was me and my body, my cells, it’s just a feeling that you can look back on yourself for the rest of your life,” Kink said. “If this is the greatest thing, the biggest thing I’ve ever done, I am so happy with that.”

Registering to becoming a stem cell donor is easy.

You can request a swab kit online and send it to a registry like DKMS here.

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