since high school; both graduated
from Fayetteville-Manlius High
friends who independently chose St.
Bonaventure. Garcia majored in mass com-
munication. Blakely was
active in the Black Stu-
dent Union and pursued
a degree in social sci-
kids, and Boston. Both
happened to be living in
Boston in 2015 when
Blakely's doctors at
pursuing a kidney
from Michigan and
was working at Suffolk
private bank Brown Brothers Harriman &
Co. when she saw a Facebook message
posted by her classmate: Do any of my
friends have type O blood?
the Facebook message in March 2015 --
National Kidney Month -- asking if any-
one had O negative or positive blood and,
if so, if they'd consider being tested as a
potential match. A year later, the women
were at Tufts being prepped for surgery.
ease. She was grateful to remain healthy
and active for much of that time, seeing
doctors regularly to monitor her kidneys. In
2015, the new year brought news that
Blakely's kidneys were working at only
about 20 percent. By spring 2016, her kid-
ney function had declined to 14 percent of
normal function and she was close to
being placed on dialysis.
Blakely said. "I posted the message and
Michele messaged me privately. It makes
me emotional, she never hesitated."
doctor visits every two weeks to monitor
the kidney and has returned to her job full
time as head of circulation at Suffolk Uni-
that awaited her in the coming year: blood
tests, EKG, X-rays.
sophomore year of high school. She was
drawn back to Western New York when
she considered colleges because of St.
Bonaventure's strong academic reputation
and her family legacy. Her stepfather, Matt
Gantt, is a 1972 graduate who was on the
Bonnies' 1970 NCAA Final Four team and
was inducted into the university's Athletic
Hall of Fame in 1990.
donation start with their family
members, Blakely said. In her
type; after undergoing some initial tests,
other health concerns prohibited her from
being a candidate.
do?'" Blakely said.
Michele has given me," she said. "Her
willingness to offer to be a donor came
immediately upon my request on Face-
book. She never wavered. It still amazes
me that someone would be so willing to
undergo major surgery to help a friend. I
will be eternally grateful to her for that."
days, the university's mission and the fu-
of the population in the U.S.
has O negative blood. O neg-
ative is known as the "univer-
sal donor" because patients
with any blood type can re-
ceive O negative blood.
medical institutions in the
country for kidney transplan-
tation since its program
began in 1971. The Boston
services has performed more
than 1,200 kidney transplants.
some 121,678 people waiting
for lifesaving organ trans-
plants in the U.S. Of these,
100,791 await kidney trans-
plants (as of 1/11/16).
someone if you can. There are
such good values there," Garcia
your values and perspectives on
tion in her family. Her son, Isaiah,
will be a freshman at St.
Bonaventure this fall and plans to
study journalism and mass com-
munication. She and her hus-
band, Anthony, also have a
16-year-old daughter, Arianna.
son's orientation this summer.
and reminisce about when I was
a student. It's such a wonderful
place," she said.