By Jackie Holland, donor mom and recipient
I was born with a birth defect – acute nephritis – and had to have one of my kidneys removed when I was a small child. For more than thirty years, I dealt with this condition until 2008, when my remaining kidney was functioning at eight percent. To prevent starting dialysis, my only son, Jachob, decided he wanted to be my living kidney donor.
When he first told me this, I was stunned. He was 31-years old, married and had two daughters. He had a lot on his plate, but this was just his nature – to help others. He truly had no hesitations about donating to me other than the recovery time. He was an active guy and wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be out of commission for too long.
On June 13, 2008, my son saved my life. After transplant, I was able to begin living my life to the fullest. I went back to work just thirteen days after transplant, and Jachob returned to work fourteen days after giving me the Gift of Life. We both had incredible recoveries and were doing very well.
A few years later, December 31, 2013 was the darkest day for our family. Jachob suffered a brain stem stroke and did not recover. His wife and our family knew that he would never want to live supported by machines. We made the decision for Jachob to be an organ donor. Because of that decision, he gave life to yet another person.
In life, he gave me his kidney. In death, he gave Charlie his other kidney.
From the correspondence we’ve had with Charlie, we know that he had been on dialysis for six years before receiving his second chance at life. In his letters to us, Charlie said that his birthday is now December 31, 2013. He’s also said that his doctor called his gift a “super kidney.” At some point, we would love to meet the man that Jachob was able to save. I’ve asked Charlie in our letters to always take care of the precious gift he’s received. Taking care of our Gift of Life is the best way Charlie and I can memorialize my incredible son.
Organ donation took something so senseless and brought great meaning to it. My son was a hero in life and in death, and for that I am incredibly proud. Won’t you consider becoming a registered organ, eye and tissue donor?