Woman meets officer she says "saved her life"

"I felt like I was being ripped open from the inside out," Tamara Valencia said.

On June 19th while in severe pain, Valencia started to drive to her Carolina Forest home.

"I thought ten minutes is ten minutes. I could make it home," she said. "I couldn't breathe."

She made it to the intersection of Highway 501 and Carolina Forest Blvd. in Horry County and stopped next to someone she wasn't expecting.

"I came upon a sheriff," Valencia said. "I looked over. He looked at me, asked me if I needed help. I could barely even answer him. He told me to get on his bumper, put on his lights and sirens and he brought me to the fire station."

The half mile drive to the Horry County Fire Station in Carolina Forest took less than a minute.

Once she was in good hands, the officer left without a word. "I had no idea who he was," she said.

Doctors later found kidney stones were causing Valencia's kidneys to fail.

She spent months trying to find the officer. NewsChannel 15 stepped in to help out.

"In fact, I don't know what prompted me to look over to my side," Horry County Sheriff Deputy Cpl. Paul Abajian said. "But that's when I saw the vehicle and I saw her grimacing in pain."

Friday afternoon, the two met where their first meeting came to an end.

Abajian didn't know Valencia was trying to find him and tell him one simple thing.

"Thanks," were the first words out of her mouth as she hugged Abajian.

"I'm so glad I was able to help you out," Abajian responded.

"It was absolute luck that you were there at that particular moment," Valencia said.

The officer shared why Friday's reunion meant so much to him.

"He never left the hospital. He died right there, and my dad wasn't even a smoker," Abajian told Valencia. Abajian lost both his mother and father last year. "2012 was just a year that I wanted to leave behind and I'm glad I'm in a new year and I'm glad that I was able to do something that kind of makes you real high and makes you feel really good about your job and about yourself."

A chance meeting that provided a chance to make a difference, and it turns out both needed a little help after all.

Valencia said she plans to keep in touch with Cpl. Abajian.

She said next time she hopes he can meet her family.