Soldier donates kidney after driving by billboard seeking donors
DENVER, Colo. - A military man decided to donate his kidney after driving by a billboard looking for donors.
Kelsey Crider's mom, Debbie, said it still gives her goose-bumps that Nate Toci just happened to drive by the mile high billboard seeking a donor and decided to step up.
"It's a digital sign and it's on for eight seconds and then it goes away and the next one comes up," Crider said.
Toci said he tried not to get ahead of himself, but tests later showed he was the perfect kidney match for Kelsey.
"I felt like I had to do it," Toci said. "It wasn't a question. It was like I'm doing this. Whatever it takes."
The Criders said it's the mentality of a soldier.
"I think that's just the American mentality you know," said Toci, who's in the Army Reserves. "Not just doing something, just asking what else can you do for somebody else?"
Kelsey was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 17-years-old. The now 26-year-old, from Boulder, Colorado, had undergone three transplants, with yet another rejection last year. Toci is her fourth donor and, by far, the youngest.
The pair underwent surgery after Toci's 21st birthday.
"Our coordinators asked if we wanted to meet each other and I"m like of course I want to see the person giving me a kidney!"
During their recovery time at University of Colorado Hospital they realized they had more in common than just blood type.
"We've had movie days because we're really into Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit," Kelsey said.
"You really don't find many people that love Lord of the Rings like Kelsey does," said Toci.
Kelsey said Toci now feels more like family.
"Nate is the kind of guy that will just go out and give himself to other people."
Toci is a hero left with one less kidney, but a whole lot more heart.
"It gave me such good hopes for the future, not just for my daughter but for the country. It's like yeah there are good people out there," Crider said.