For the last five years, 24-year-olds Brandon Cullen and Joe Curry have been working together as lifeguards at Robert Moses Beach off the coast of Long Island, New York. In that time, they’ve become close. "We clicked from right there,” Cullen says, “We had a lot of similarities. We work out together. We surf together.” But now the two lifeguards have grown even closer after Cullen selflessly donated his kidney to save his friend.
Since birth, Curry has been battling a rare genetic kidney disease known as Alport syndrome, and last year, his kidneys started to fail. His parents weren't a donor match, so Cullen stepped up to get tested and proved to be a perfect match. Then he made the decision to donate his kidney to his friend. "I didn't want to see Joe out of commission any longer,” Cullen says, “I wanted to have my friend back.”
The kidney transplant was successfully performed earlier this year, leaving enough time for both young men to make a full recovery before the summer beach season. Curry is forever grateful to his friend for saving his life, saying, “there is no way I could ever repay that." But he does plan to try and pay the kindness forward by becoming a teacher and, of course, continuing as a lifeguard. "It's in the name, “lifeguarding.” You save other people's lives. Usually, you just save a stranger,” Curry explains, “Now that I'm blessed with another chance at life, I don't want to waste it"