LODI, Calif. – Two Northern California families are redefining what it means to be a good neighbor.
The Greens and Rostomilys, of Lodi, had lived parallel lives for decades, unaware of small connections that would later lead to a life-changing meeting.
"I would go on field trips with their grandsons over the last few years," said Char Rostomily, whose grandsons attend the same school.
But the Lodi grandparents never intersected and never met until both were in hospital gowns back in April, according to KTXL. That spring, Richard Green was about to receive a kidney from a stranger.
"I had no idea who the person was, male or female, or anything about them," Green said.
Rostomily prepared to donate her organ.
"Here you are praying for a miracle and yet your heart is breaking at the same time," Rostomily said.
Rostomily says she had registered as a living kidney donor to save her daughter Nikki.
"We found out very quickly that none of us were a match because she had so many blood transfusions all her life," Rostomily said.
Nikki ended up getting a kidney from an East Coast donor but her mother still wanted to help, even if she did not know who was on the receiving end.
"It saved my daughter and someone else and I was able to give back instead of just take," Char Rostomily said.
The families say the day of the surgery Rostomily’s twin grandsons had been talking about their grandmother’s operation. They shared the news with the Greens' twin grandchildren.
"There are so many inner connections where all of our families have linked in so many different ways," Green said.
The kids shared their finding with their teacher, who is Rostomily’s older daughter.
Their families knew each other, their grandsons went to the same school and then they found out they were neighbors. Now they’re no longer strangers.
"We’re bonded for life and the kids truly feel that way that we’re family," Rostomily said.
The families say if even one person decides to become a living donor it would make them very happy.