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Airline pilot giving life-saving kidney to her flight attendant in “a pretty fair trade-off”

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SEATTLE - A pilot and a flight attendant at Alaska Airlines are celebrating National Kidney Month in a very inspiring way.

"Once we close that door, we have to rely on the person sitting next to us to save our life, literally."

That's what the women do every day they go to work, as Alaska Airlines employees.

But, now, Captain Jodi Harskamp is going above and beyond the call of duty for her friend and flight attendant, Jenny Stansel.

"Just last March 10th - one year to the day - was my very last day at work. I had to take a passenger seat on the way home, I was so sick," Stansel told Q13 News.

For 15 years, Stansel has struggled with kidney disease, brought on by lupus.

"She sent out a company-wide email after she went on medical leave, saying I need a kidney, preferably O positive. She set up a Facebook page and like, literally, would walk around with applications in her purse to hand out to baristas, 'Hey, are you O positive? Do you wanna fill out an application?"

Harskamp decided to give it a try.

And, as it turned out, she was Stansel's match.

The two moms, both based in Anchorage, Alaska, will have their transplant surgery Monday, at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

"I have just been really excited. Some days, I have to calm myself down," Stansel said.

Both women understand the risks, but they anticipate a smooth ride.

"There's a small chance that I will never return to flying if my remaining kidney does not pick up the slack for my removed kidney," Harskamp said. "I've always said that my job is risk assessment, that's what I do for a living and I have determined that the reward in this is far greater than the risk. I'm gonna lose a kidney and she gets to live - it's a pretty fair trade-off."

Both women hope, by sharing their story, they will inspire others to consider donating, too.