Gift of life: El Paso Sheriff's office employee donating kidney to co-worker

POSTED: 06:30 PM MDT May 28, 2013    UPDATED: 08:36 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

A Sheriff's employee is helping his co-worker live a fuller, longer life. Daniel Rollings, a grant writer for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is donating a kidney to Michaela Hebeker, a Lieutenant with the Sheriff's Office.

Hebeker suffers from Polycystic kidney disease. The disease is genetic. Her liver only functions at 10 percent and she must undergo dialysis treatment every day for nine hours. Hebeker has not stopped working full time, which means she has only about two hours a day that are not devoted to dialysis or work.

After learning of her condition, Rollings said he was moved to help. "One day I just received a text from Daniel asking me 'what blood type are you',  I told him don't be fooling around with me because other people have also said 'if you ever need it - let me know' - and they didn't follow through," Hebeker said Tuesday.

Rollings was not fooling around. He's had to undergo six months of thorough tests - psychological and physical - to prove he's fit to donate an organ.

The surgery is scheduled for Saturday morning. Both of them are scared but hopeful of the new chapter. For Michaela, it means her life having some normalcy back. "I'll be able to visit my family, go out of town, take trips. And finally get a good night's sleep."

Rollings said he wishes more people would consider donating a kidney "If this extends her life - 10,15,20,25 years it's definitely worth it - someone else having that quality of life. What our (sheriff's) Office's mission is about service and duty and this is a great opportunity for me to help someone and serve someone."

The surgery will take place at the Las Palmas transplant center, which is the only one performing kidney transplant surgeries in El Paso. A staff member said there's a lot of demand because of the high number of diabetes patients on the border. That often leads to kidney disease.

Hebeker is ready. "He's (Daniel) like a brother to us now. He's going to be part of me forever."