South Carolina paramedic drops 125 pounds to donate kidney to 2-year-old niece

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. — A South Carolina paramedic is willing to do anything to donate her kidney to her 2-year-old niece. That includes losing 125 pounds to make it possible.

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Sara Cathey, who works for Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services, is scheduled to donate her kidney on July 6 to Natalyn Mann, WSAV-TV reported.

That comes after nearly a year of dieting so she could be physically fit to make the donation.

“I save complete strangers on a daily basis. There was nothing that was going to stand in my way,” Cathey told the television station. “It was all the motivation I needed. I had a great support team, my family 110% stood behind me.

“My co-workers, they are eating salads with me. The fire department is eating salads with me. The ER department is hiding the snacks so I don’t eat them when I come in.”

The inspiration is her feisty niece, who had to have both kidneys removed on July 8, 2021.

“Natalyn has a very vibrant and outgoing personality,” Cathey told Bluffton Today in August. “She is the perfect combination of sweet and sassy. She loves her brothers, her kitty and any dog she can get her hands on. She has won multiple beauty pageants over the last year, loves swimming, swinging and singing.”

Mann’s family took tests to find a match, and Cathey was the one -- if she lost the weight. Her niece was her biggest cheerleader.

“When she was in the hospital and I was on the treadmill, we would Facetime,” Cathey told WSAV. “Natalyn would cheer for me. That’s all the motivation I needed, truly.”

Cathey and her niece are already making plans after they recover from surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.

“She keeps saying, ‘Nope I don’t need to eat,’” Cathey told WSAV. “’Not until Aunt Sara gives me her kidney. When I get Aunt Sara’s kidney, I can have my macaroni.’

“That’s all she wants is some macaroni and chocolate and she’s going to get it. And I am going to eat some mac and cheese with her. I think I’ve earned some mac and cheese.”

In a Facebook post, Cathey said she was humbled by all the “outpouring (of) support from friends, family, and our community.”

“It has been truly humbling,” Cathey wrote.

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