Woman donating kidney to longtime best friend

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's going to be a huge week for Billie Jo Cudd. She turns 47 Thursday, but she'll be spending her birthday at the hospital. That's because the day before, she's donating a kidney to her best friend.

Billie Jo Cudd will be spending her birthday in Charleston, and her best friend, Tammy Watford, will be there too. "I talk to her every day," said Cudd. "Five, six times a day every day."
But the trip won't be a wild party. For 47 years, they've shared each other's lives as friends, roommates and coworkers. After Wednesday, they'll share something else.

"She's like my sister," said Cudd. "It hasn't ever been a doubt in my mind, I'm not worried about the surgery, I think God's got me here for this."
Cudd is donating her kidney. She says Watford has battled diabetes for years, and won't survive without the transplant. "I'm not gonna lie to you, I've got some family members that's against it," said Cudd. "But that wasn't a choice, it's my decision, you know?"
Cudd says her risk is relatively low compared to her friend's. That's beside the point, though. Cudd says she'd go through it regardless of risk. "I've got the best husband in the world, I have two of the best children in the world, and I've got three grandkids," said Cudd. "I've lived a good life. If the Lord thinks it's my time to go it's my time to go.

"Some people ask what am I getting out of it," continued Cudd. "I can't believe they ask that. I don't need anything. As long as my best friend's here and we go to the nursing home together, when we get old, that's all I need."
Thursday is Cudd's birthday. You can bet her friend got her a gift, but she says there's only one thing she wants.

"As long as we're both up and awake on Thursday, that's all the birthday present I need," said Cudd.

If everything goes as planned, Cudd should be back home by Friday. She plans to return to Charleston soon after to visit her friend.

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