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Alaska Airlines co-workers recover after kidney transplant

By Lauren Maxwell 7:43 PM March 14, 2017
ANCHORAGE –

An Alaska Airlines pilot who donated her kidney to a co-worker was resting peacefully Tuesday in a Seattle hospital a day after successful transplant surgery.

Jodi Harskamp is the pilot who volunteered to give a kidney to Jenny Stansel, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who has end-stage kidney disease.

In a telephone interview from Swedish Medical Center, Harskamp said the surgery went off without a hitch. She said it took two teams of surgeons to pull it off, one to remove her kidney and another to place it in Stansel.

“She was about an hour and a half behind me,” Harskamp said. “They woke me right up and I had no memory of anything. I didn’t even remember being wheeled into the O.R. and my first comment was, ‘are we going to do it?’ And they said, ‘we already did it!”

Harskamp said she should be able to leave the hospital by the end of the week, but Stansel will have to stay at least another six weeks.

“She is on anti-rejection drugs and they really have to get that cocktail correct,” Harskamp said, adding that she and Stansel remain in good spirits. “It hurts to laugh, we are making each other laugh and it kills us because it’s so painful!”

Both women will have to remain in the Seattle area for some time, and then it will months before they can resume work.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help defray expenses. By Tuesday evening it had already raised more than $3,800.

KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or on Twitter.

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