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Co-worker donates kidney to ‘Office Mom’

Virginia Louise Moon Hutt and Tara Battle Barnes are co-workers and friends. That friendship recently developed a bond that few people can share.

Virginia Hutt (Contributed)

Barnes donated a kidney for Hutt during surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital on Nov. 8.

“They will be forever connected,” Tammy Stanfield, Hutt’s daughter, said. “My mother received an amazing gift from Tara.”

After years of resisting, Hutt moved from Gadsden to Huntsville to begin a new career at 58 years old and live near her children and grandchildren. In 2005, she started working in the business office for pediatric dentist Dr. Brian Beitel.

Stanfield is office manager for Dr. Beitel. “My mother quickly assumed the role of ‘Office Mom,’ referred to as ‘Mama V,'” Stanfield said. Stanfield had hired Barnes as a dental hygienist in 2000.

“My mother and Tara became fast friends,” Stanfield said. “Tara viewed my mother as a mother figure. When the staff learned my mother would require dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant, several staff members wanted to be tested.” After screenings, Barnes was the best candidate.

Tara Barnes (Contributed)

Fortunately, the transplant surgery was an immediate success. Hutt’s new kidney started functioning immediately. “Her labs improved to normal the following day and have remained normal since,” Stanfield said. Barnes was released only three days after the laparoscopic transplant.

The path for friendship “was set into motion nine years ago when Tara’s husband, Lee Holbrooks, was brutally murdered in Birmingham by a disgruntled employee who had been fired that day,” Stanfield said. Tara moved to Huntsville and eventually married David Barnes.

Stanfield and Hutt live in Harvest Alabama, and Barnes lives in Huntsville. Stanfield is PTA president at Endeavor Elementary School and fundraising vice president for Sparkman High School Band.

“A perfect match, better than a sibling or child, equal to a parent, Tara decided to give my mother an opportunity to live without dialysis,” Stanfield said. “What an amazing and selfless gift we all received from Tara.”

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