CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - How far would you go to help a co-worker in need?
A Charleston woman who was diagnosed with kidney failure received the gift of life from an unlikely source, her boss.
Last Spring, life as Deborah Smoot knew it changed in an instant.
She went in for an annual checkup. "My blood pressure was high, I've been having blood pressure issues for years," said Deborah Smoot.
She followed up, and after a number of tests was diagnosed with kidney failure.
"He (her doctor) said I want to put you in the hospital, put in an access, and start dialysis today," said Smoot.
For a woman who felt and looked healthy, the news was no doubt a huge shock.
"I said I don't drink, don't smoke, I drink water all of the time," said Smoot. "I don't understand it."
She'll never forget what the doctor said next.
"He said, you can go, but I'm telling you you're going to go home and you're going to die," said Smoot. "Your heart is going to stop beating and you're going to die."
She started dialysis, and waited to get listed for a transplant.
Meanwhile, Deb went back to work as a probate clerk at the Mississippi County Courthouse.
One day, she learned she was on the list for a transplant. Deb had phone number in hand for anyone to call and find out how to get tested.
"We're in a large office, and when I got the number I was so excited about getting listed I said, oh oh...I'm listed for a transplant," said Smoot.
Deb's boss, Leigh Ann Colson, the County Circuit Clerk overheard the news.
"I said, if we're the same blood type I don't mind being tested," said Leigh Ann Colson.
"I said, that's a lot to ask," said Smoot. "She (Colson) said I might as well be tested, why not."
Leigh Ann did just that, and after several tests she got a phone call.
"They said we were compatible, they wanted to do further testing," said Colson.
"I was like, are you kidding me what are the chances of this," said Smoot.
Deborah Smoot's boss was a perfect match.
"My whole family was in shock, she was the first to be tested and she was a match," said Smoot. "The good Lord up above had a big role in that."
There were some initial concerns.
"My mom was a basket case," said Colson. "She didn't want me to do this, she said think about your family."
Leigh Ann has two boys, Brady and Riley.
"I was afraid, but it was her body and her choice," said Brady Colson.
Last month, that choice led both women to the operating room.
They have a photograph of the actual kidney that was taken out of Leigh Ann, and is now working like a charm inside Deb.
"It's just a miracle I'm telling you," said Smoot.
They're now home, still recovering from surgery in January.
There's some pain but Leigh Ann says it's worth it.
"Just knowing I could help her and she's going to be around," said Colson.
They are no longer just boss and employee. The two women have a bond that can never be broken.
"It's nice knowing I could help someone who needed help," said Colson.
"I don't know what she has felt, but I can't thank her enough," said Smoot. "I don't have enough words to tell her how important this has been to me."
Both women hope their story will raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.