Diane Davis – Lifesaver

Diane Davis – Lifesaver

By: Allison Myers

Diane knew from a young age that she was built for sales. Her propensity for connecting with people was evident right away, and after spending a summer working in a beautiful resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with people from all over the world, she saw a clear path forward.

Diane moved to Minnesota to study hotel and restaurant management at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She graduated in 1986, and she was excited to connect people with beautiful properties and holistic experiences. Nearly 30 years in the business of sales has kept her on her toes, always awaiting a new adventure — just as she hoped it would.

With her warmth and sincerity, Diane quickly assuages any stereotypes or preconceived notions one might have of 30 year seasoned “salesperson. ” I have a hunch that her salt-of-the-earth upbringing may have a hand in her natural authenticity.

Diane grew up on a farm in North Dakota, surrounded by her five older siblings and no fewer than 300 head of cattle. Rather than sending her to the grocery store, Diane’s mother would send her out to gather vegetables from the family garden for lunch. “It was a great way to grow up and stay grounded,” she recalled.

Even today, tending her own garden in the busy DFW suburbs is a therapeutic practice that reminds her of being back home on the family farm. Diane found her way to Texas in the early 90s, quickly transitioning from hotel sales to home warranty sales and today she is in the title insurance industry.

Home transactions are generally the biggest purchases many people will make in their lifetime, and it can be an emotionally vulnerable time, Diane added. There’s high stress and worry – especially in this insane market – so you are going to see people at extremes – either they very best out of excitement, or their worst due to the stress. Through the process of getting buyers and sellers to the table, it’s common for the clients and the professionals involved to develop a strong bond of  friendship that lasts a lifetime. “They start out as clients, but then you do weddings and baby showers and funerals, and pretty soon you’ve done life together as friends,” Diane said.

The lifelong friendships that Diane has cultivated showed up for her en masse when a tornado ripped through her Rowlett neighborhood the day after Christmas in 2015. The EF3 tornado wiped out her home and belongings in a matter of minutes. The devastation was unimaginable. Friends rallied to support Diane and hubby, Rudy and they quickly were settled in a rental home.

If losing everything, except your life, has taught Diane anything, it’s not to sweat the small stuff and to be on the look out for ways to help others, just as she was helped in her darkest hours. It doesn’t take long to see that Diane is a down-to-earth person who gets true fulfillment from serving others. This is probably due to a combination of both nature and nurture, but the longer I spoke with her, the less shocked I became at the radical act of kindness she performed for a perfect stranger.

A couple, whom Diane had known “loosely for a decade” came in to the office to do a home refinance in January 2021. They spent a few minutes catching up and sharing family updates, when the couple happened to mention that their son, Robert, was in need of a kidney and had to be on dialysis three days a week for well over a year now. Robert had also recently made the decision to leave college because of the toll that dialysis was taking on his body.

The conversation struck a chord with Diane. “My knee-jerk reaction, of course, was, ‘I’ll get tested!’’ she laughed, “Their kids are the same age as my kids, so it was sort of personal.”

Diane did get tested to see if she would be a match, but knew the chances of her matching and passing all of the required exams were slim, but she thought she should at least try. And as fate would have it, Diane was indeed a perfect match, and she continued to pass each exam, one by one, with flying colors.

But Diane wasn’t surprised: “As soon as the results came back, confirming that I was a match, I knew that it was going to happen. It was like there was a God whisper in my heart that told me it was something I was supposed to do. I knew that this wasn’t a coincidence. Our paths crossed for a reason.”

In fact, Diane recalled the first time “the seed was planted.” A sales rep she hired nearly 15 years ago had donated a kidney, and Diane was struck by that act of generosity. “It just stuck with me,” she said, “I think it was a seed that’s just been living in me, waiting for the right time to grow.” Her decision made, Diane pressed on.

Robert, the recipient, and Diane, the prospective donor, each had their own medical teams that were assigned to them throughout the entire process, with Diane’s team continually reminding her that she could change her mind at any time. Beyond that, according to Diane, external conditions have to be almost perfect to be an approved living donor.

For instance, the prospective donor cannot be a caregiver, they have to have the right employer who will grant the necessary time off to undergo testing, surgery, and recovery. If they don’t have children to look after, it makes it easier. “I was in the exact right season of my life to be making this choice,” Diane said. The dormant seed was finally ready to spring to life!

Diane and Robert met for the first time last June, the day before they both went into surgery, after undergoing several intense months’ worth of comprehensive testing and preparations. “He’s 6’6”, and I looked up at him and thought, ‘Can my little kidney keep this big guy going?’” Diane laughed. “But it can, and it is. It’s an absolute miracle.” After nearly a month of  recovery, Diane and Robert got to have lunch together, marking the beginning of a new friendship.

They remain in contact, and Diane receives regular updates from Robert’s family who continues to be “blown away” at the progress he has made. Both Robert and Diane have made full recoveries and their doctors are more than pleased with how smoothly the whole procedure went.

And they’ve both kept their sense of humor through it all. “Every couple of weeks, I’ll text Robert and ask him how my kidney is doing. He’ll respond and say, ‘What do you mean, your kidney? We all know possession is possession is mine-tenths of the law!’

In a serious shift in tone, Diane said that one major takeaway from the process was coming to understand the importance of knowing one’s blood type. In fact, that’s the message she most wants others to hear. That, and the fact that recipients of donated organs have a much higher success rate when organs are from living donors.

She discovered that the death of an unregistered organ donor means that medical caregivers must ask next of kin, usually during times of emotional distress, for permission to remove organs for transplant. Educating friends and loved ones on learning their blood type and becoming living donors has become of great importance to her, and she’s sharing the information with anyone who will listen.

Though Diane has always had a knack for making friends, this relationship, of course, will forever hold a special place in her heart. And though she’s more than a few miles from the garden she grew up tending, she’s still nurturing the seeds of generosity, kindness, and service that were planted all those years ago.

When Diane isn’t forming lifelong bonds with her clients, you can find her spending time with her family — preferably on the water somewhere — and soaking in time with her husband, kids, and grandchild. And when she can, she heads back up north where her story began. To connect with Diane, email her at diane.Davis1@fnf.com.

 

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