This Pilot Gave A Flight Attendant The Gift Of Life When She Donated A Kidney To Her

"It's hard for me to put into words the gratitude that I have."

Alaska Airlines flight attendant Jennifer Stansel had been battling chronic kidney disease for 15 years. Her condition deteriorated to the point where she suffered an emergency mid-flight and needed to take a passenger's seat. After the incident, her doctors informed her that she needed a kidney transplant to live.


After several potential donors didn't work out, Stansel ended up finding her match in fellow Alaska Airlines employee and pilot, Jodi Harskamp.

Capt. Harskamp was one of the first people to be tested when it was revealed that Stansel needed a kidney and she turned out to be the right donor. 

It is something that Stansel is extremely grateful for, especially because pilots have to undergo strict health tests before they're able to fly planes, according to Fox 25 Boston. Of the kind gesture, Stansel said, "It is hard for me to put into words the gratitude I have for the sacrifice she and her family are making. Throughout, Jodi has maintained a positive attitude and a genuine attentiveness toward my well-being, all while caring for her own family. She is my hero!"

While Stansel is extremely thankful for Harskamp's donation, Harskamp also has Stansel to thank for helping her when she was in need. When Capt. Harskamp's house was destroyed by a fire, Stansel showed up at her door to help her, despite being a complete stranger at the time.

The two has since formed a close friendship. Harskamp told ABC News that she had no hesitations about the donation. 

"I lose a kidney, she gets to live. It seems like a pretty fair trade-off," she said.

Stansel recently had her surgery and posted an update on Facebook that the procedure went well.

"Hey everyone!!! Just a quick update. Surgery went really well. JoDiva is incredibly strong, Jodi Harskamp wasn't kidding when she said she was taking great care of her and was going to serve it on ice. We could not however serve it on a beverage cart but it did come on ice. Lol. Jodi managed a quick strut around the halls at 5am with the assistance of a walker and I'm slow moving. Not quite up and about yet but pain is still pretty bad. When that's under control I can roam the halls freely. Love you all and thank you for the amazing support from every one of you. We are so fortunate to have such amazing family and friends. Here she is!! Welcome to my world JoDiva!!! As promised we will have adventures of EPIC proportions!!!"

She added, "Waking up without feeling sick is a very odd feeling. I'm loving it!! I still haven't grasped the fact that I no longer have to perform dialysis 10 1/2 per night. I wake up thinking I'm hooked up to my machine and to my relief it's just required I.V fluids.. I can definitely handle this!!!"


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.