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Living donor in Calgary gives co-worker extraordinary gift of life

WATCH: Two women who were only casual co-workers have forged a one-of-a-kind friendship. The two are about to undergo a surgery, one selflessly giving an organ, the other receiving a life-saving gift. Jill Croteau has their story.

It began as only a casual co-worker relationship but has now evolved into an extraordinary connection between two women.

Heather McCormick and Connie Fluke work together in the same Calgary building but didn’t really know one another.

Fluke, 39, found out through other colleagues that McCormick, a mother of two young boys, was in need of a living organ donor.

McCormick’s doctors discovered pre-cancerous cells in her bile ducts and in order to survive, she needed a new liver.

“My doctor said if we do nothing, in five years you won’t be here. Liver cancer is so hard to treat. Once it’s progressed, it’s palliative care, there’s no real treatment to rid yourself of those cells,” McCormick said.

Heather McCormick and her family.
Heather McCormick and her family. Family Supplied

“They knew I would be sitting on the transplant list for years if we were waiting for cadaver donor. My doctor brought to me the option of live donor and told me to start lining people up to be tested, which felt daunting,” she said.

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“How do you casually ask people if they want to give you half their liver?”

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Fluke heard about the humble ask and wanted to get tested. She was a positive match.

“Because we both work in the same building, I sent her a message and then I saw her and we met in the hallway and both of us were trembling,” Fluke said.

“We had a date sooner than anticipated but game on.”

Heather McCormick and her family.
Heather McCormick and her family. Family Supplied

“To find out Connie was willing to do this when we don’t know each other that well, and someone willing to make a sacrifice, was just huge,” McCormick said.

The pair will head to Edmonton to have surgery on Monday.

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“If there’s a way to help somebody and make their life better and it doesn’t cost me anything, why wouldn’t I?” Fluke asked.

It’s been awe-inspiring to those who know them. Their mutual friend, Michelle Wong, has set up a fundraising page for both Heather and Connie, knowing their road to recovery will be long.

“Honestly, when I think about it, I shake and cry.

“We have two amazing and beautiful women coming together and sharing this journey.

“Knowing both of them it speaks to the heart of who they both are: compassionate, giving, kind, selfless,” Wong said.

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“We need more of these people in the world.”

Both McCormick and Fluke are enjoying getting to know one another and take this journey together.

“It is a reminder of how much good there is in the world and it’s the start of a friendship that will be really strong for a long time,” McCormick said.

“She’s a beautiful, peaceful soul, great energy and I would hope somebody would do for my sister or any loved one,” Fluke said.

“I would hope somebody would step forward and take a chance.”

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