By writer to www.sfchronicle.com
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Hallie Thomas barely resisted the urge to run over and hug Jamie McKenzie on Nov. 23 after they met at AdventHealth Orlando — three months after each donated a kidney to avoid wasting the lifetime of one another’s beloved one.
Thomas, a 34-year-old instructor from Winter Backyard, gave considered one of her kidneys to McKenzie’s 4-year-old daughter Emery. McKenzie, a 32-year-old nurse dwelling in New Smyrna Seashore, donated a kidney to Thomas’ husband, Richard. The 4 surgical procedures occurred in August via AdventHealth Transplant Institute’s dwelling donor program.
COVID protocols meant the 2 households sat aside throughout their assembly on Nov. 23, however the smiles of each girls had been apparent behind their masks.
“I’m so grateful we’re getting this chance to satisfy them,” Thomas mentioned.
McKenzie mentioned she knew when she was 20 weeks pregnant with Emery that her daughter would have persistent kidney issues after medical doctors found cysts on her kidneys. Neither McKenzie nor Emery’s father, Robert Bock, had been a match to be donors.
“We had been very, very lucky to have discovered this couple as quickly as we did, as a result of (Emery) was proper on the verge of beginning dialysis,” McKenzie mentioned.
The timing was additionally proper for Richard Thomas, who received considered one of McKenzie’s kidneys.
Thomas, 35, has suffered from kidney illness most of his life and had each hips changed due to grueling chemotherapy therapy.
The paired donation solid a everlasting bond between the 2 households, he mentioned, and improved his high quality of life.
“A bit of Hallie is part of their household and their household is part of our household,” he mentioned. “For so long as I’ve this kidney — for so long as I’m alive — that household and that gesture goes to imply rather a lot to us.”
Dr. Michael Angelis, surgical director of kidney transplants at AdventHealth, carried out the transplants and mentioned there’s an enormous want for donors. The Nationwide Kidney Basis estimates about 100,000 individuals within the U.S. are ready on a transplant.
“We do a number of transplants, however to get a narrative like this, it’s very thrilling,” Angelis mentioned, including that it’s uncommon for transplant sufferers to stay in the identical area.
Thomas and McKenzie signed up for the paired donation program, which is designed to match a recipient to a donor in an identical scenario. By exchanging donors from their household, Richard and Emery had been capable of finding a appropriate match.
For the reason that surgical procedure, McKenzie mentioned Emery’s restoration has been going easily.
“My hopes are for her to develop up wholesome, to have an opportunity at a standard life, to not be so scared to come back to the hospital,” she mentioned. “This poor woman has been via rather a lot in her life.”
The Thomases mentioned the connection solid via their households’ medical journeys will final without end and can possible embrace play dates with their son Talan, who is similar age as Emery.
Hallie is wanting ahead to lastly attending to embrace McKenzie.
“I’ve each intention of planning the reunion, a number of reunions, from right here till the tip of time – a time when COVID doesn’t exist and I can wrap my arms round her and provides her the largest hug,” she mentioned.
— to www.sfchronicle.com