Updated:MORGANTON, N.C. —
A Morganton public safety officer received a medal of valor for donating a kidney to a fellow officer.
Felicia Ennis said it was not a hard decision to give a kidney to Bryan Christy. She said she did not want his children to grow up without a father.
"Could you imagine being a four-year-old, and not knowing if you were going to have to grow up without your daddy?" Ennis asked.
Morganton Public Safety Chief Mark Tolbert presented a Medal of Valor to Felicia Ennis during the June 18 Morganton City Council Meeting to recognize her distinguished service.
"Most acts of valor are a one-time event that leaves little to no time to think of one's actions. PSO Ennis had months to change her mind about donating her kidney, but she remained steadfast in her care and commitment to her fellow law enforcement officer and gave of herself, literally, to provide life to Sgt. Bryan Christy," the commendation read.
Ennis said her own father was saved from a deadly illness, so she decided that the best way to show her gratitude was by helping someone else’s father.
Four years ago, Ennis’ grandmother died of lung cancer. A year later, her father was diagnosed with colon cancer, she said. She feared watching her father die of cancer just like her grandmother had, she added.
"The feeling I had in the pit of my stomach was sickening," Ennis said. "I know what it is like to think your daddy is going to die, and there is nothing you can do about it. You feel helpless, with a lot of questions and doubts."
However, a surgical team removed the cancer and her father slowly began to recover.
Ennis said when she looked at Christy’s 4-year-old son, she knew she wanted to help and knew what emotions the boy was experiencing.
"And all of a sudden I thought, 'Hey, maybe I can help someone else's daddy,’" Ennis said. "What if I could give Bryan more time with his little boy and family?"
She said the two officers spent hours talking about the decision as they drove to and from Chapel Hill for tests to determine if Ennis was a suitable match.
The two officers went into surgery on May 1 and the transplant has proven successful.
Four days later, the two officers were sent home. Ennis is already back at work.
"I would do it all over again. Every pain and every ache I have had has been worth it to me -- to see one more daddy spared and get to grow old with his children, with his family at home and with family here at Public Safety,” Ennis said.