Miracle survivor lives to save another life
(4/12/06 - KTRK/HOUSTON) (KTRK) -- A Houston-area woman says she's come full circle to repay the gift that God has given her. During Tropical Storm Allison, Minnie Hightower nearly lost her life. And now that miracle has saved two lives.
We first met Minnie Hightower in 2001, recovering after almost dying days earlier. She'd been on her bedroom telephone when lightning hit an external electrical box. The strike fried her oven rod and all the phones in her home, including the one she was using.
She remembers a blue spark hitting her on the chin and knocking her across the room.
"I remember looking down, and watching my toenails blow off," she recalled.
Already seriously injured, she tried driving herself to the hospital, but she only made it five blocks before passing out behind the wheel. While she was unconscious, the floodwaters of Allison began to consume her car.
"The water was up to my chest in the car," she said. "I was sitting down. I had my lap belt on and my head was bobbing with water splashing up."
A fireman had to break through her car window and carry her to safety. Minnie was in the hospital for three days. We interviewed her when she got home.
"I remember you sitting on the edge of my bed, telling me, you know, there's got to be a purpose for you to be spared," said Minnie.
Little did we realize at the time how prophetic our discussion would be. Minnie and her husband moved away for a while and moved back to League City last year. And she says it was at that point that she realized why God had spared her. Later this month, Minnie will donate one of her kidneys to her sister-in-law, Monica Cortez.
By the time Minnie had moved back, Monica's liver was only 11 percent operational. She was placed on a three-year waiting list in 2004 and had found no match&until Minnie tried.
"I was just leaving it in the lord's hands," said Monica.
"I was thinking in the back of my mind we're not blood relatives, so we won't match," said Minnie. "But all along the way, I passed every test."
Their surgeries are scheduled for April 25 and it won't be easy. But Minnie and Monica now know their destinies have somehow melded into a kind of mutual survival.
"I serve a mighty God and he made a match," said Minnie.
"I think the Lord's just looking out for us," agreed Monica. "I really do."
The Cortez family is planning a fundraiser on April 22 to help pay for medical bills. It will begin at 1pm at Ronnie's Icehouse in Dickinson. It will take both Monica and Minnie weeks to recover. Of course, we'll keep you updated on their progress.
(Copyright © 2006, KTRK-TV)
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