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Inspirational Story of Stephanie Meyer – How She Saved a Life As a Kidney Donor
Mortgage Broker
Trish Reedy Mortgage Broker
Published on February 4, 2021

Inspirational Story of Stephanie Meyer – How She Saved a Life As a Kidney Donor

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(If you’re driving or have low bandwidth, we recommend using the audio version for your safety and improved listening enjoyment listed below.)

Welcome to Episode 5 of Podcast: Reedy, Set, Grow with Trish Reedy!

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Our guest’s name is Stephanie Meyer. Stephanie is a Kansas Citizen, Build an inspiring story by saving the life of her friend’s husband by donating a kidney to him. In this podcast, she shared the full procedure from testing her blood type till the surgery and what she was feeling during that time.

Trish Reedy: Welcome to Reedy Set Grow the podcast that inspires you to grow into the person you are meant to be. I’m your host, Trish Reedy. I’m a local mortgage lender here in Kansas City, and I just love our community. I love the people here. So, I’m excited to share with you another inspirational Kansas City-an my friend, Stephanie Meyer. 

Stephanie Meyer: Hi. 

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Trish Reedy: Thanks for coming. 

Stephanie Meyer: Of course, I’m excited. 

Trish Reedy: So, Stephanie and I are not native Kansas City-ans. True. We, we are Kansas City-ans now, but we both grew up in Wichita. Yeah. So, I’m so glad that we’re here now. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Me too. Me too though I still love Wichita. 

Trish Reedy: Well, yeah. Yeah. So, tell us a little bit about the story of how you saved someone’s life.

Stephanie Meyer: Sure. gosh, that sounds so big and mighty when you say it that way. 

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Trish Reedy:  It is big and mighty. It is. 

Stephanie Meyer: So, I am a living kidney donor and it kind of happened because of social media.

Trish Reedy: Social media can do good.

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Stephanie Meyer: I know this is the one thing. Yeah. So, it was Michelle who went to high school with me and was a great, great friend at the time. We stayed Facebook friends, but that was kind of it. So, I hadn’t seen her a lot. Absolutely. The high school has been longer than I care to admit. 

Trish Reedy: Seems like yesterday.

Stephanie Meyer: A few decades ago, but stayed Facebook friends and so, of course, followed each other’s lives and in March of ’18. So, a couple of years ago I saw her put on Facebook that her husband who I didn’t know and had never met was being added to the kidney transplant waitlist. He has polycystic kidney disease. So, he had had it since he was 13 and he was gosh, 36, I think at the time and so had struggled with it for a long time and finally, his kidneys got to a place where it was time for him to get on the list. So, that’s about 20% function. So, 10% is full-time dialysis. 

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So, they try to hit the sweet spot so theoretically, you can find a kidney before you hit dialysis because the outcomes are not ideal at that point. So anyway, he gets added to the list and she does a Facebook post about it. I don’t know, it was sort of like a God moment. I saw it and I was like; you know what? I think I’m going to be his match. So, I just responded to Facebook and said, Oh, I’ll get tested what is his blood type? So of course, we were the same A-plus blood type and I thought, well, I’m going to do it. I kind of thought from the beginning, there’s no way I’m not going to be a match because I’m that type A about everything. Oh, I’m going to do it. 

Trish Reedy: What’s the likelihood of being a match?

Stephanie Meyer: So, I think it’s about 1 in 30,000.

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Trish Reedy: Whoa!

Stephanie Meyer: Right. So crazy and the whole time I’m like, okay, well I know that I’m going to be a match, and my husband’s like, there’s no way that you’re going to be a match. 

Trish Reedy: Okay go ahead and get tested, Stephanie.

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Stephanie Meyer: Sounds good all right. So, we go through the whole process. It’s a very, as you might imagine, lengthy process. So, they do a phone interview and talk about your family history. Of course, they want to know your health history, how you’re doing. The focus for it, and I went through KU. So, the focus for these folks is to make sure that on the donor side, you’re in good enough health, that when you lose a kidney, you’re going to be fine. 

Trish Reedy: Yeah. 

Stephanie Meyer: So, you go through all those tests. It ends with a very lengthy and elaborate full day scan at KU. So, they run every sort of test you can imagine. Wow.

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Trish Reedy: And you found out you were in great health. 

Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. So that’s also a bonus. Yeah. Lots of health tests, lots of mental health tests. A lot of so you want to give your kidney to a stranger, are you crazy kind of conversations. So, interesting and went through the whole process, and Dan and I were a match throughout. Dan and I finally met the day before I got final confirmation that we were a match, and I was approved to give.

Trish Reedy: So, totally a stranger. Somebody you had never actually met before. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Yes. Yeah.

Trish Reedy: That’s so wild.

Stephanie Meyer: It was crazy, and I’ll tell you that lunch was crazy. It’s like the most awkward first date of your life. Like you both know you’re a kidney match for each other.

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Trish Reedy: So, you feel like saving my life tomorrow. 

Stephanie Meyer: Right and he’s such a sweet guy. I could just go on and on about Dan. But the thing about that lunch that I loved was all he knew about me is that I worked in politics. So, we get about halfway through lunch, and then of course I knew his wife. We get like halfway through lunch and he says, Stephanie, I just have to tell you something. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with you not knowing about this. It’s important, blah, blah, blah, and I’m thinking did you kill someone? What is this deep dark secret? And he says, well, I didn’t vote for Trump. I’m like I don’t care. I have other feelings about that. But yeah. So, it was really cute that that’s what he was worried about and he’s just been a sweetheart throughout.

Trish Reedy: Oh my gosh. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. 

Trish Reedy: So, the, the process to be approved was pretty rigorous. 

Stephanie Meyer: Yes. 

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Trish Reedy: And you made it through and decided, yeah, I’m still going to do this. Was your husband on board?

Stephanie Meyer: At that point yes. 

Trish Reedy: At that point?

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Stephanie Meyer: Yes. Yes. He came into the final session at KU with a legal pad full of questions. Lots of interesting ones, lots of ones that people often have. So, what are the outcomes like if you donate a kidney? What does life look like for you? And just to let everybody know, I think it’s important. My life hasn’t changed at all. I can’t take any NSAID pain relievers. That is quite literally the only difference. So, the most popular question I get is can you still drink alcohol? I can say. Yes. So, that’s important. Yeah. 

Trish Reedy: So, wine can still go through the system. 

Stephanie Meyer: It works very well. So yeah. 

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Trish Reedy: That’s why we have a liver and kidney. 

Stephanie Meyer: Exactly. That’s exactly right. Yeah. 

Trish Reedy: So, okay. So, you got Brian on board. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Yes. 

Trish Reedy: You’re approved, then what happens? 

Stephanie Meyer: So, then we kind of waited. So, it happened so quickly in the grand scheme. People are typically on the transplant list for a couple of years. 

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Trish Reedy: Wow. 

Stephanie Meyer: So, he started in March and we got approved at the beginning of June. So, because we had a little bit of time.

Trish Reedy: That’s super-fast.

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Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. So, it all went very quickly because we had a little time, we decided to kind of wait until the end of the year. So, Katie, his wife is a teacher, so she would have time off. The surgery was up here, they live in Wichita. So, they would be able to come up and have an easier work schedule. My work schedule is a little less hectic at the end of the year. So, we just waited. We had a kidney going away party. We’ve raised some money for PKD, just lots of fun stuff. It was such a great few months of just trying to increase awareness and talk about something I didn’t know about. Talk about going in to have surgery and at all of that. So, it was great. Yeah. So, then in December, December 18th he got my kidney, lefty.

Trish Reedy: He got lefty.

Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. He got lefty.

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Trish Reedy: Which maybe is fitting if he didn’t vote for Trump. 

Stephanie Meyer: Right, exactly right. Yeah. Though now a part of him is officially Republican. So, we can say that forever.

Trish Reedy: That’s funny. That’s funny. So how was the surgery? Was there a huge recovery? Was super painful?

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Stephanie Meyer: It was really easy. It’s crazy to say that about surgery, I think. So, it was a hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery. 

Trish Reedy: Can you say that in English, please? 

Stephanie Meyer: I know. So, it wasn’t a lot of cuts involved, we’ll say. So, I have two tiny, tiny incisions, less than an inch on my side where they put in the equipment to sort of scoot my left kidney around and they just blow up your stomach. My surgeon stuck his hand into my belly button and pulled out a kidney. So, it’s about the size of your fist, so if you can imagine that. So, I have one larger scar that covers my belly button, but it’s not that large either. So, it was a couple of hours of surgery and we go in at the same time, we’re in surgery rooms next to each other and they, of course, prep Dan and they want to make sure that he is ready to receive the kidney before they remove mine.

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Trish Reedy: Take it out. Yeah. I imagine it needs to stay viable. 

Stephanie Meyer: Yes. Yeah. They wait for that and so once Dan is prepped they go in and they remove my kidney. My kidney is only out in the world for probably 20 minutes. 

Trish Reedy: Okay. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Again, a great outcome. Every kind of donation is wonderful. Living donation has the benefit of the organ hasn’t ever really stopped. So, there’s no resuscitation required of a kidney or part of a liver. We could also donate; they don’t want mine. So, it’s just a healthier organ. It makes the process to be a lot smoother. So yeah, it was a few hours woke up and there’s a pain because you just had surgery…

Trish Reedy: Surgery sure.

Stephanie Meyer: …and lost in Oregon. But I was in the hospital for two nights and home on bed rest for about a week and after about two weeks, I was back at the office.

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Trish Reedy: So pretty much back to normal. 

Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. Yeah. 

Trish Reedy: Do you know how long the recovery takes for the recipient?

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Stephanie Meyer: So longer for them? It’s kind of an interesting thing. So, normally they say that it’s harder on the donor than the recipient because you’re going from 100% percent kidney function down to 50 immediately. So, your remaining kidney does pick up that slack pretty quickly. But on the recipient side, it’s a lot of work to make sure that the organ is not rejected. So, it’s a longer lead time for them. So, I think it was probably, I hate to speak for Dan on that, but it was probably a few months I think before he was feeling good, but his kidney function is great. My favorite statistic is on the day of surgery, he was at 14% kidney function. So, as I said, 10% is dialysis. So, three days after they tested both of us and he was at 87% kidney function. 

Trish Reedy: Wow!

Stephanie Meyer: So, it’s just an incredible…

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Trish Reedy: So, your kidney worked well.

Stephanie Meyer: My kidneys are like rock stars.

Trish Reedy: Yeah. That’s amazing. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s great and my kidney function is almost the same, so it really has not had any impact on my quality of life and he’s doing great. Lots of things that I didn’t realize you couldn’t do when you’re on a renal diet and in kidney failure. So, he hadn’t had cheese in like seven years, which that in and of itself is a crime.

Trish Reedy: Yes. I mean how do you drink wine without the cheese. 

Stephanie Meyer: Right. Exactly or peanut butter, lots of things people should have. Yeah. Yeah. 

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Trish Reedy: You need those things. So now he can have them again. 

Stephanie Meyer: Now he can have cheese. 

Trish Reedy: Wow. Give the gift of cheese.

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Stephanie Meyer: I know. That’s reason enough to donate a kidney. No one should be deprived of that. 

Trish Reedy: So, he’s doing great. You’re doing great. 

Stephanie Meyer: Absolutely. 

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Trish Reedy: I feel like that’s not the end of your story. 

Stephanie Meyer: Okay. 

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Trish Reedy: I mean, you’ve been doing a lot of speaking about this and sharing your story and that’s what you’re doing today. 

Stephanie Meyer: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, I feel, as we’ve talked about, and I hinted at a little bit here, you must share what the process is like, what the journey is like, and open it up as an option was. Until a couple, probably four years ago I had another Rotarian who had donated. It was the first time I’d ever really thought about living donation. Before that, it had just never…

Trish Reedy: Never really occurred.

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Stephanie Meyer: None. Not at all. No, not a thing that I had ever seen. So, I feel like the more we can tell the story of what a great process it was for us, what a positive thing it’s been, how well we’re both doing, maybe it’ll give somebody else that spark of like, yeah, maybe I should check this out. 

Trish Reedy: Yeah. Wow. So, you mentioned you’re a Rotarian. 

Stephanie Meyer: I am.

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Trish Reedy: As am I. I think a lot of times people may perk up their ears a little bit like, I think maybe I’ve heard of that. Tell us about that a little bit.

Stephanie Meyer: So, Rotary is, and this will be a good quiz, an international service organization just dedicated to bettering the world around us in the short version of it. So, clubs, obviously throughout the world, we’re in different clubs. There are about 40 here in our district. So about 2,500 Rotarians here in Kansas City, just going out every day, looking for opportunities to improve their communities. So, such a wonderful organization, great fellowship as well. 

Trish Reedy: You’ve got a big job coming up. 

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Stephanie Meyer: I know. That’s why I’m saying like, I’m glad I’m getting this quiz. Yeah. So, I am the incoming District Governor, District Governor Nominee. So, I’ve got about a year and a half to go, which I’m excited about too because I’m in my thirties, a little bit younger than the typical Rotarian. I will be one of the youngest District Governors. I think it’s important as, you know, as well to show people that Rotarians don’t have to be what you think of as a Rotarian, old white guys.

Trish Reedy: It’s not just old white guys drinking coffee. 

Stephanie Meyer: Exactly. 

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Trish Reedy: So, do you have any interesting Rotary stories you want to share?

Stephanie Meyer: Oh gosh, there are so many, so many of these clubs are just wonderful and it’s been interesting watching during COVID too because so many of them have switched to virtual and they’re doing really interesting fundraisers and I struggle to even find a great specific story, but it’s been fun. We’ve gained members as a district. 

Trish Reedy: That’s amazing. 

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Stephanie Meyer: It’s exciting. You know, I think people will see a need in the community and Rotary is a great way to help fulfill that need.

Trish Reedy: It’s a good chance to give back, a really good way to get to know other people that are involved and engaged in the community and want to see it improve, other business leaders, and…

Stephanie Meyer: Absolutely.

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Trish Reedy: …some of the best people that I have met, best humans.

Stephanie Meyer: I agree. Yeah. Without any kind of an agenda. So, my background is in politics, so I can wax poetic about this stuff. But right now, when our country is so divided Rotary, organizations like Rotary are such a great way to find common ground and work towards a common good and not get lost in who you voted for president. 

Trish Reedy: Yeah. Yeah. And, when things do get political people, don’t like it.

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Stephanie Meyer: Absolutely yeah. Very much against it, which we maybe need more of gosh, after the last couple of months, we all need less of it.

Trish Reedy: Yeah, man. Well, I appreciate you sharing your story and telling us all about I mean seemingly how easy it was. I mean, you lost a little weight, I imagine. 

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Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. The kidney weighs a couple of pounds so that’s good. All benefits really and it is just one of the most meaningful things in my life. It’s hard to even really put into words what it means. The feeling of knowing that somebody else is going to have a healthier life moving forward because of something that was very little effort on my part. I just kind of laid there. The surgeon did all the work.

Trish Reedy: Yeah. Wow.

Stephanie Meyer: So,  I just think there will never be another experience in my life. I think that is as meaningful as that experience and then meeting Dan’s family after surgery. 

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Trish Reedy: I can’t imagine the amount of gratitude from his wife and the rest of his family. 

Stephanie Meyer: They’re wonderful. Dan got a kidney out of it, but I feel like the lucky ones, I feel like the benefits that I’ve gotten far outweigh any burden that I had, which was pretty minimal. 

Trish Reedy: I’ve heard you say that before, but it is such a selfless, generous act and you blow that off because that’s how you are, but I think that needs to be acknowledged and if there were more people like that willing to do more generous, selfless things, we’d be in a better place. 

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Stephanie Meyer: I think so too. It’s that concept of community, seeing a need. Rotary feeds right into that. It’s seeing a need and saying, here I am, send me. I’m ready to help this person. So, of course, it was like second nature, so it was great. Everyone should do it. You should do it. Donate a kidney.

Trish Reedy: Oh man. 

Stephanie Meyer: No pressure. 

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Trish Reedy: So, I’m O negative. 

Stephanie Meyer: Okay. So that’s good. 

Trish Reedy: Well, I want to wrap up with a little rapid-fire, five questions.

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Stephanie Meyer: I love it.

Trish Reedy: Let’s hope you continue to inspire us with your answers here. I’m sure you will. What’s your favorite quote?

Stephanie Meyer: So, it is Teddy Roosevelt, the man in the arena. So, it is not the critic who counts blah, blah, blah. It’s a very long quote, but basically about being the one in the arena, being the one fighting it out and working towards the good and not caring about those asshole critics.

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Trish Reedy: Because there are plenty of those. 

Stephanie Meyer: Everywhere.

Trish Reedy: I mean, one thing we didn’t touch on is you ran for Mayor of Shawnee 

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Stephanie Meyer: Did. 

Trish Reedy: And I imagine you heard a lot of criticism.

Stephanie Meyer: Yeah. Some of the things that people say and will put into a Facebook message are not even probably repeatable on this podcast. Yeah. So yeah there’s some negativity for sure.

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Trish Reedy: Wow. Wow. You’re getting pumped up for your day. Tell us what song you’re turning on. What are you going to jam out to, to feel good?

Stephanie Meyer: My secret obsession is rap music and a lot of nineties. I grew up in Wichita, it’s our thing. 

Trish Reedy: Yeah. 

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Stephanie Meyer: But “Lose yourself” Eminem has been my jam forever and run to it. I walked doors to it.  It’s my favorite. 

Trish Reedy: “Lose Yourself.” I love it.

Stephanie Meyer: I love it. See, you just wanted to rap it with me. 

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Trish Reedy: You just do. You’ve got to… Yeah.

Stephanie Meyer: Now you’re pumped up see.

Trish Reedy: I’m ready. So, we may know the answer to this, but what one accomplishment are you most proud of?

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Stephanie Meyer: Sure. Of course, it would be the kidney, but I would also say even just so I was on the city council for six years, having the opportunity to serve my neighbors in that capacity, three of them as president of the council was great. Frankly, running for mayor of a 70,000 person city. 

Trish Reedy: That’s big.

Stephanie Meyer: As 38 year old, you know was great. Even the loss. It was such a great experience. I learned so much from it. So, I’m still proud of that campaign.

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Trish Reedy: You should be. Absolutely. What two things are on your bucket list that you still have yet to check off? You’ve checked a lot.

Stephanie Meyer: there are so many. So, I would love to write a book. That has been going around in my head for a while. So, I try to do a physical challenge every year. One year it was donating a kidney. 

Trish Reedy: That’s a pretty good challenge.

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Stephanie Meyer: So, I want to do the MR340. So, it’s a kayak race down the Missouri River from Kansas City to St. Louis. You have 88 hours to do 340 miles down the river in a kayak. I’m dying to do it.

Trish Reedy: By yourself?

Stephanie Meyer: You can do it in tandem as well, but I would probably go on my own. I’m a kayaker so I would probably go on my own. There were flying carps that hit you and can break your arm.

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Trish Reedy: What!

Stephanie Meyer: There’s so much that happens on a river.

Trish Reedy: I didn’t know carps could fly.

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Stephanie Meyer: Me either. It’s terrifying. It’s in the night. All of it sounds so cool. So, I’ve had a couple of friends who’ve done it and I’ve thought about it this year, but COVID.

Trish Reedy: Pandemic. Yeah, man. Okay. So, we see that on the horizon. 

Stephanie Meyer: Absolutely 

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Trish Reedy: I imagine we’re going to see a sign up pretty soon. Finish this sentence. I am most inspired by _____.

Stephanie Meyer: So many things. So, I would say hearing what people are passionate about, whatever that is. That motivates me so much. If it’s politics or saving dogs or Metallica, whatever it is. Hearing people talk about what they care about is so motivating to me.

Trish Reedy: That’s cool. That’s cool. Well, Stephanie, I am so glad that you joined us today… 

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Stephanie Meyer: My pleasure. 

Trish Reedy: …and share your story. Hopefully inspired some people to be selfless and generous and humble. 

Stephanie Meyer: Awesome. 

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Trish Reedy: I’m Trish Reedy and this is Reedy Set Grow.

If you would like to get in touch with Stephanie Meyer:

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