Nissan Employee Donates Kidney to Save Co-Worker’s Life

August 10th, 2023 by

Photo credit: Nissan

In a world where true friendship is something to cherish, two Nissan employees set an inspirational example of how to bond with others and perform generous acts. This is the story of Josh Bredeson and Josh Shaffer, whose lives were brought together from the moment they met while in eighth grade, and since then the two friends have demonstrated a great connection and a true friendship. 

“We’ve been pretty inseparable since we met in eighth grade,” said Shaffer, who is the godfather of two of Bredeson’s five children. “We’ve always found our way back to each other, no matter where we were in life,” added Bredeson, who was best man at Shaffer’s wedding.

In late 2021, Josh Bredeson and Josh Shaffer were on a Skype video call, during which Shaffer realized that something was wrong with Brederson, who had suffered from an illness for years. In the course of the call, Brederson confessed to Shaffer that his kidney disease had worsened and that he needed a kidney transplant. There are currently nearly 100,000 Americans on a wait list for a life-saving kidney transplant. Finding a match for a patient’s blood type usually takes three to five years, and the chance that someone who is not family is a match is often very low. However, despite the odds, Bredeson underwent several months of testing that resulted in a close match even though the two friends and co-workers at Nissan were not family related.

Doctors diagnosed Josh Bredeson with an illness at the age of 39, despite his  diagnosis, Bredeson went on to thrive as a dealer technician at Landers McLarty Nissan in Huntsville, Alabama, a position he held for most of his career at Nissan. Brederson went on to win the Nissan International Service Technology Excellence Competition (NISTEC), a global competition with more than 50,000 Nissan technicians worldwide. Brederson was able to win the U.S. portion of the competition, making him the top-ranked Nissan dealer technician in the country, a title that would open many possible doors, giving him opportunities he didn’t think possible.

Two years ago, Bredeson received word from his doctors that he would need a kidney transplant in the next two to five years. To overcome the stress of his possible kidney transplant, Bredeson turned to his NISTEC experience, a fact that helped him get a promotion and work at the Nissan dealership’s technical support center, allowing him to use all of his skills as a technician behind a desk. Upon hearing the news of his best friend’s operation, Shaffer took action after asking for advice from several friends and family members. Shaffer took action immediately and was already on the list of possible candidates for the blood match. 

The next step was for Shaffer to undergo a day and a half of testing at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Shaffer completed an ultrasound, a chest x-ray, a CT scan, an electrocardiogram test, and a four-hour blood draw. After three months of testing, Shaffer received the great news that he and his best friend were a good match for the kidney transplant. Despite the risks of his operation and the long recovery process, Josh Shaffer never hesitated to donate his kidney to save his best friend’s life.

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