There's no national award for Teammate of the Year. But if there was, it's a good bet that Jordan Carlson might be in the running.
Carlson, a recent graduate of Butler and a two-year player on the Grizzlies' nationally-ranked softball team, gave the gift of life to when she donated a kidney to Richard Gutierrez, who is the father of Butler softball player Meghan Gutierrez.
The surgery, which happened on Tuesday, June 25 at University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, has been deemed a success. Jordan is recovering and Richard has seen his numbers continue to improve.
Jordan first learned about Richard's health in December. Jordan and Meghan were teammates and close friends, and it deeply affected Jordan to see Meghan be so concerned about her father.
Then on Christmas Day, Richard posted on Facebook about his need for a kidney transplant. Jordan's mind and heart agreed on what she should do.
"Her dad is her best friend, and I wanted to do something for her so she can have many more years with her dad," Jordan said.
Jordan had to call and answer some medical questions to see if she might be a match. When that was successful, she had to travel to Kansas City multiple times have tests run over a five-month span.
Finally, with the softball team in Utah preparing for the NJCAA national tournament, she got the call that she was a bona fide match.
"It brought a lot of joy to me," Jordan said of getting that phone call. "It was a very happy time. It was so good to hear and I was glad we were going to get it done."
Jordan and Meghan met up with Meghan's parents in Utah and told them the news.
Jordan's family admitted having concerns about having such an invasive surgery while in the midst of her collegiate athletic career. But through it all, Jordan stayed resolute.
"I thought about all of those things, but I like to think a lot more about the positives in life and not the negatives," Jordan said.
"I'm so proud, but scared to death at the same time," said Laurie Carlson, Jordan's mother.
There was pain after the surgery, but Jordan as bounced back in the week following. She's already challenging orders to stay home and recuperate. While she heals, she continues to seek a place to play softball at the four-year level, having used both years of eligibility at Butler and having earned her associate's degree.
"I'm not sure where I will play yet, but hopefully somewhere," she said.
Carlson would encourage others to donate if possible.
"I would say that you don't know the impact you can have on someone else's life – on them and their family," Jordan said. "You do have a spare kidney. It's kind of cheesy to say, but why not share it? I feel God put us on earth to help one another. If you're able, I would definitely recommend it."