A Texas man responded to a plea for help from a family in Georgia by donating his kidney to a total stranger. USAToday has the story of Raleigh Callaway, a father of two and a police officer, who suffered from stage 5 kidney failure. Out of desperation, Callaway’s wife posted a picture to Facebook of the two of them, and their two daughters, who were holding a sign saying, “Our daddy needs a kidney!”
Chris Carroll, the Texas man who responded, went and had himself tested and typed, and found he was a perfect match. Less than 10 weeks after the Callaways posted their photo, they went into surgery, and both Carroll and Callaway are recovering very well at a hospital in Atlanta.
Stage 5 kidney disease is also known as end stage renal disease. According to DaVita Healthcare Partners, a company providing dialysis to hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide, a person suffering from stage 5 kidney disease has lost nearly all of their ability to filter toxins out of their bodies. These patients need ongoing dialysis, and/or a transplant, to continue to live.
This is the stage that Raleigh Callaway was at. While patients can still enjoy a decent quality of life, even on dialysis, the procedure takes time, and patients still have good days and bad days. A transplant is an attractive alternative, because these people will once again have a functioning kidney, getting rid of the need for dialysis treatments.
When Chris Carroll found out that he was a match, and that he was the chosen donor, he also found out that Callaway’s health was starting to fail. At that point, he pushed to speed up the transplant process. The Callaways were, at this point, no longer total strangers. By trying to get the process sped up, Carroll helped to ensure that the transplant would happen while Callaway was still healthy enough for it.
This is the kind of story that can restore a person’s faith in humanity. DaVita, which not only provides dialysis to U.S. patients, but also works around the world and in developing countries to help people suffering from kidney disease, can only do so much. They provide information, help, and support for people who want transplants, but sometimes, that’s not enough. There are over 80,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, according to Living Kidney Donor Network. Many of those people have been waiting for five years or more. So when a healthy person reaches out to a sick person in need, even though they’re total strangers, and is both willing and able to help in ways that companies like DaVita can’t, it shines a light on what true compassion and humanity are.
Chris Carroll could have ignored the pleas. He could have said to himself, “Hey. I might need that kidney someday. Someone in my own family could need a donor, so I’m going to hold onto mine, just in case.” But he didn’t. And his act of kindness (which is really an understatement) saved Raleigh Callaway’s life and gave him back to his family.
The response the Callaways received to their plea overwhelmed them. It prompted Kristi Callaway, along with the photographer who took the photo, Brandi Angel, to start their own non-profit organization. They call it Callaway’s Angels. They’re dedicated to finding kidney donors for people in need. Visit their website here.