They don’t know each other very well, which makes what’s about to happen next even more amazing. Cortney Powell is donating a kidney to Shane Pierce.

They don’t know each other very well, which makes what’s about to happen next even more amazing. Cortney Powell is donating a kidney to Shane Pierce.

According to Cortney, the decision “just came naturally.”

A father, a husband, a community servant, Shane was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in August 2015. Commonly called Berger’s Disease, it occurs when an antibody creates inflammation in your kidneys and interferes with their ability to filter wastes from your blood.

A detective with the Lake Ozark Police Department, husband to Lacey and dad to four children, he has been on dialysis for the last few months as the disease progressed, waiting and hoping for the only long-term solution. He needs a kidney.

It’s a gift like no other, organ donation, and kidneys are one of the few that can be done through a live donor.

But it has to be a match, in more ways than one.

Since his diagnosis, Shane started the Facebook page “A Kidney for Shane” which advertised his need but also advocates and raises awareness about kidney disease and organ donation in general. He and his family and friends have run fundraisers, done radio spots; they even talked to the newspaper.

Looking. Hoping. Praying.

Cue Cortney.

Organ donation wasn’t something she had thought much about. Cortney says she hadn’t even signed up for it through her driver’s license in case of death - until she and her 15-year-old got to talking about it in February when she was getting her license renewed.

An Eldon resident, wife to Bret, mother of four, Cortney became aware of Shane’s condition and prognosis around June of this year.

A fellow officer’s family were selling t-shirts promoting kidney donation, “Share Your Spare,” they said.

Cortney bought some t-shirts. Little did she know then the path to come.

She knows Shane a little through the community efforts of her employer, Target, in conjunction with the LOPD.

Trying to recall the first time they met, Shane thinks it was probably trying to talk her into giving the department a discount on a coffeepot. Then again, it may have been talking to her about support for the community’s National Night Out event. They were more officially introduced by Police Chief Gary Launderville.

Either way, the two mostly know each other in passing only.

Since buying the t-shirts, though, Cortney says she just kept hearing and seeing his story pop up in her life. She kept checking his posts on Facebook.

“It was hard to see,” she says. “I felt sympathy for his wife. I couldn’t imagine.”

Then one day on the page, someone asked Shane what blood type he is.

It’s not just enough to have someone who’s willing to donate, it has to be a match.

But that question made Cortney stop and think because they have the same blood type.

She ordered a kit - anonymously - to begin the process of seeing if she could be that match.

It’s a long process, she started in July. Then she found out she was a match.

“It’s exciting, but then holy cow,” says Cortney, describing the moment of knowing.

She had some thinking to do.

With four children of her own, she had some concern at first that some day her own children might need a kidney, but after evaluating her health and that of her family, Cortney believes she is in a good position to be able to provide a kidney to someone outside her family.

And that family - behind her 100 percent in her decision.

According to Cortney, her husband Bret said he knew this would be the outcome when she started the process to see if she was a match. Her kids attended the Lake Ozark Youth Police Academy this year.

Actively involved in the academy as well as other community programs is Shane. He was apparently her kids’ favorite. They are thrilled that their family is going to be part of this gift, says Cortney.

Sympathy for Shane’s wife Lacey and his family - so similar to her own - put her on this path that now seems meant to be.

The outcome of all the testing was perfect, says Cortney, even the doctors were amazed. Most people have to undergo a second round of testing to ensure the health of the donor and the match.

“It just worked out,” says Cortney. “It was definitely meant to be.”

Decision made, it was time to act.

On Shane’s end, the detective was clueless.

Because of HIPAA regulations, among other things, Shane had no idea that Cortney had been going through this process or that she decided to donate. He still hasn’t received definitive confirmation from his doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

But friends were gathering to surprise Shane.

On Aug. 28, Shane showed up to what he thought was just an LOPD gathering to hand out some community service awards. Chief Launderville was getting choked up handing him an award, and Shane says he thought, “man, I’m going to make so much fun of him.”

Then the chief called Cortney up, and she handed Shane an envelope with the message of her decision to donate. The card left him speechless, then a big hug.

“There was just a rush of emotions. I don’t know - happy,” he says. “I didn’t think I would be getting a kidney anytime soon. It felt like a giant weight just lifted.”

Days later, he still struggles to find words, when even “thank you” doesn’t seem like enough.

“It’s humbling. She’s my hero now. I never expected this would come from someone who’s not a family member,” says Shane. “She’s just doing this out of the goodness of her heart.”

More surprising perhaps is Cortney’s reaction to the aftermath of the announcement. She, too, says she feels humbled but also surprised by the outpouring of interest and appreciation.

“It’s a bigger deal than I anticipated. I knew his family would be excited, but I’ve gotten so many messages and calls saying thanks. I didn’t realize it would mean so much to other people,” says Cortney.

She says she is excited to be able to help someone who has so much for the community.

Now, the procedure awaits. It should take place around the end of the year and will likely include a six- to 12-week recovery time for both.

“Like having a baby, except more relaxing,” quips Cortney.