A Georgia police officer who through the power of social media received a kidney from a stranger is recovering at Emory University Hospital.
Doctors say that both Raleigh Callaway and Texas donor Chris Carroll are doing “incredibly well” following the life-saving organ transplant operation.
“I have always believed in God, and this just shows you that he is always working and is there, that he’s going to make a way for you,” Callaway, a Greensboro officer, said Sunday.
Carroll, who was discharged from Emory on Saturday, learned about Callaway’s plight in July after Kristi Callaway and her friend Brandy Angel turned to social media for help.
In the post, Callaway stood with his wife and their two young daughters who held a sign that read: “Our Daddy needs a kidney!” By that time, Callaway was in late stages of renal failure following complications of Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure.
Carroll, a health care consultant and grandfather from McKinney, Texas, said he saw the post and suddenly felt compelled to give.
“I’ve donated blood for most of my life, but I never considered giving a kidney,” said Carroll, who was discharged Saturday. “But when I saw this story I felt God calling me to do it.”
He was among hundreds who contacted Emory wanting to help. The Callaways’ original Facebook post resulted in more than 900 people contacting the hospital, said Dr. Nicole Turgeon, who performed the operations last week.
Turgeon credited the power of social media for not just saving Callaway’s life, but potentially many more. Of the hundreds who contacted Emory, more than 125 people are still being considered for transplant surgeries to other patients.
“The use of social media for these types of pleas really highlights the American spirit and shows how giving people are,” she said. “…If we can help not just Raleigh, but several others, that’s pretty amazing.”
Turgeon said without a transplant, Callaway would soon have needed dialysis treatments. That, she said, would have added complications to a potential transplant operation.
Both men are thriving following the operation, she said. Callaway is expected to be discharged from the hospital as soon as Monday.
Kristi Callaway said the incredible number of respondents prompted her and Angel to launch a nonprofit highlighting the stories of others who need a kidney donation. Her hope is that by personalizing their need through their website, CallawaysAngels.com, more people will be compelled to give.
She said the experience has strengthened her belief in others.
“I’ve have always tried to see the best in people, but there are certain things that go on every day that you can’t ignore. Sometimes you do start wondering: ‘Why can’t people be more loving and more considerate and more kind?’” she said. “This just shows me they can. They just need a reason. They need an outlet and something that speaks to them.”
Carroll said that to his surprise, he never doubted his decision.
“I believe God can change your heart and he put it on my heart to do this. I felt as strongly about getting this done as if it had been for my own dad,” he said.
Carroll and his wife, Veronica, said they felt an instant connection with the Callaways when they met earlier this month.
“We feel as blessed or more than Raleigh’s family through this, with all the outpouring of love from people,” Carroll said. “We feel that if you follow God’s plans, you never know what kind of blessings you will get.”
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