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Nov. 9, 1965 – June 27, 2014

Angela Y. Hightower, a mother and homemaker who survived pioneering kidney surgery in 2008, died June 27 in Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. She was 48.

Ms. Hightower was born in Buffalo and graduated from South Park High School in 1984. She became a certified nursing assistant upon graduation and held the job until 1997. The single mother raised seven children, and family members said she was caring, compassionate and patient, and put others before herself.

In 1997, when she was pregnant with twins, Ms. Hightower was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease at Erie County Medical Center.

Scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant, she received a bad blood transfusion that canceled the operation.

Forced to undergo dialysis for several years, she experienced blockage in nearly all major arteries – making a second attempt at a transplant unlikely.

But in 2008, she was accepted into the Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program at the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, and on July 8 of that year, Dr. Robert Montgomery performed a lifesaving surgery that rearranged Ms. Hightower’s organs to accommodate a new kidney that was attached to her liver.

The surgery was the first of its kind and considered a success. Ms. Hightower remained healthy until forced to return to dialysis in 2013.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday in True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St.