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Longwood University classmates decide to donate organs to save lives of others

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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- When friends gather to talk about college days gone by, the  conversation can swirl around Spring Break and sororities. But for three Longwood University graduates,  their chats center on scars and surgery. Three years ago Skylar Carpenter went under the knife and donated her kidney. Her actions saved her seriously ill mother.

Skylar Carpenter

Skylar Carpenter

“She was very sick. It was a long battle. It was about eight years,” Skyler said. “She had so much color in her face. She was smiling. I haven’t seen my mom smile like that in years.”

Skylar Carpenter and her mother.

Skylar Carpenter and her mother.

Skylar’s friends Lauren Miller and Heather Monger weren’t just supportive they were inspired. After weighing the risks and undergoing a battery of tests to become organ donors, their phones rang.

"I wanted to help someone as quickly as possible," Heather said. “When she called and said I was approved I cried. I was so happy.”

Thinking about her late brother Heather donated her liver in June.

“It was honestly the best experience of my life,” she said.

Heather Monger

Heather Monger

Lauren would donate her kidney last December.

“I decided that this was something I definitely wanted to do,” Lauren said. “It’s not as big a sacrifice as many people might think it is.”

The recipients of Heather’s and Lauren’s organs were complete strangers.

Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller

“When I thought about the recipient and people that need this,” Lauren said. “There is a 100 percent chance they need it now.”

The women hope to motivate others because the numbers are staggering. More than 120,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant. Of those 22 will die each day.

Lauren, Skyler and Heather

Lauren, Skyler and Heather

“Being an organ donor I think is the biggest gift you can give someone,” Skyler said. “You are changing their life permanently. Forever.”

“You’re going to be a match for someone,” says Lauren.

These friends have no regrets, well maybe just one.

“Any regrets? Not doing it sooner,” Heather said.

“It is really like a mission for us now,” Lauren added. “It has definitely made us closer.”

Heather, Lauren and Skyler are three women with huge hearts. Judging by their generosity they would donate that organ as well if it meant giving the most precious gift of all… life.

“It’s not about who I gave it to,” Heather said. “It is about wanting to help someone even if I don’t know who it is for the rest of my life.”

All three women have made or are making full recoveries. Skyler’s mother is doing well. She is working at Johns Hopkins University and studying to become a doctor. For more information about donating organs click here.

Who is the hero in your life? Nominate them for Heroes Among Us

Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.