The turn of the century was also a turning point in my life. My mother had developed sclerosis of the liver, the result of Hepatitis C she contracted when she had a blood transfusion in the 70s. Doctors at University of Ohio, Cincinnati were placing her on the donor list, but also shared with us they had performed 3 living related donor liver transplants. As they explained the process to us, I immediately knew it was God’s will that I be the vessel he would use to perform a miracle and save my mother’s life. I began the testing to become her donor and on April 24, 2000, 60% of my liver was removed and placed into my mother, Flonnie Broyles. I spent 6 days in the hospital and went home, but returned for a few more days due to a lower right lobe lung collapse.
Several years later, I was blessed with the opportunity to give another organ…a kidney. My friend and co-worker had been suffering with kidney failure and had been on dialysis for 2 years. I offered to donate when he first began dialysis, but he refused. He did not want to consider having anyone give him a kidney and especially me…having gone through it already. It wasn’t until later, when he came to the realization that his life was slipping away, that he would consider anyone. Numerous family members were tested, but health issues prevented some and no match could be found. I saw him struggling one day, just to make it up a flight of stairs and my heart broke. I emailed his wife, who was also a good friend, and pleaded with her to convince him to let me be tested. Again, I knew it was God’s plan and I would be a match. He agreed to let me be tested, and I was a match! Doctors were concerned at first that I had been a donor previously, but after extensive consultation; they couldn’t find any reason not to let it happen. So, October 24, 2007… seven years and six months after the liver transplant, I became a two time living related organ donor when I gave my left kidney to Kenny Ramsey. Kenny was able to celebrate his 40th birthday in September, 2008, something he said he didn’t think he would get to do. I only spent 3 days in the hospital and was released. Doctors at Jewish Hospital, Louisville, KY said they researched, and could find no evidence that anyone; anywhere in the world was a two time living related organ donor.
I have been so blessed during my 52 years, and I thank God every day that He chose to use me to be a part of these two miracles. Fortunately, I am healthy and seriously can’t think of any way the donations have hindered me. I actually went back to work three weeks after the kidney donation!
My family and friends have been so very supportive through it all. As someone who knows, I need to emphasize that medical personnel are as concerned for the donor as they are for the recipient. They won’t take any chances when it comes to a donor’s health and well-being. I would encourage anyone who has an opportunity, to give the gift of life…and also make certain your family and friends are aware of your wishes. Your rewards will outweigh any difficulties you may encounter as a living related organ donor.
After almost 12 years since the liver transplant, and 4 ½ years since the kidney transplant, both mom and Kenny are doing great! God is so good!