Kidney donor and recipient meet after a chance encounter online

Lisa Sorlie and Booker T. Williams are now bonded for life.

Sorlie, 53, lives in Wisconsin, while Williams, 41, resides in California. They were brought together two years ago, when Sorlie donated her kidney and Williams received it. Williams was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2014, a month after his dad died of kidney complications, and had been on the donor list for five years by the time he was matched with Sorlie. "I didn't miss anything because of my health, and I want everybody to have that," she told Good Morning America. "I want them to be exhausted from chasing what matters to them."

The donation took place on May 9, 2019, and would have stayed anonymous had Williams' best friend not spotted a post from Sorlie on a Facebook group for kidney donors. She saw that Sorlie's story matched up with Williams', and she quickly connected them. They became "fast friends," but their first in-person meeting was postponed due to the coronavirus. Finally, they were able to get together on May 2, watching the Brewers take on the Dodgers at Milwaukee's American Family Field.

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Sorlie told GMA when they met, "It wasn't like, 'Hey, you're the guy who has my kidney.' It was more like, 'Hey, you're the friend I've been waiting to meet,' and that kidney was a conduit." Grateful for her gift, Williams set up a surprise for Sorlie — at the end of the third inning, a message appeared on the scoreboard, just for her: "Happy transplant anniversary 143. With all my kidney, you're my hero, Lisa Sorlie." Williams explained that he ran out of room, and had to use "143" as the pager code for "I love you."

"She's family now," Williams said of Sorlie, and the pair already plan on spending every future kidney donation anniversary together.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.