HCMC respiratory therapist has the ultimate birthday gift for her dad: a kidney

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A respiratory therapist at Hennepin County Medical Center who is usually on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 is helping her father get healthy in a unique and generous way.

Shawna Sheppard is undergoing transplant surgery at HCMC Tuesday in order to donate one of her kidneys to her dad, 62-year-old Dwayne Sheppard.

"It was like a calling. I knew I was the person who was supposed to give him this," she said.

The transplant has been in the works for nearly four years. Dwayne has had to postpone surgery several times due to health complications.

"I’m really happy she is giving me a second chance at a better life," he said.

"He brought me into this world and now I’m going to do my part to keep him here longer," Shawna said.

The transplant surgery took place Tuesday. Dwayne’s birthday is just two days later. They both say this has been the best birthday gift ever.