Candice Grant, of Charlotte, is a transplant recipient. She received a kidney in 2011, four days after Thanksgiving. Anita Erwin, of Kannapolis, is a donor parent. Her son Michael was killed in a car accident in 2004, four days before his 18th birthday.
These two women's stories don’t directly intersect. They'd never met, until Tuesday - when they both participated in a panel discussion during an organ donation symposium held at UNC Charlotte.
Yet, Anita and Candice's combined experiences illustrate the intimate and sometimes mysterious bonds formed through organ donation. That was clear during a conversation with WFAE's Mark Rumsey.
Candice Grant, on receiving a donated kidney: "I call my kidney my friend, so I feel as if I have a new friend that goes everywhere I go... I'm very protective of her and of the gift that I've received."
Anita Erwin, on forming a family friendship with the man who received her son Michael's donated heart: "I can't really describe how I felt the first time that he stayed with us overnight, knowing that the heart is back home - Michael's heart is sleeping in his room tonight...a small piece of Michael that still lives. "