A New Jersey man has gotten another chance at life, thanks to a stranger who found out about his case in the comment section of a post last August and tracked him down on Facebook.
Bill English, 35 told People he received the sad news that his kidneys were failing in 2015, and he needed a new one to stay alive. His wife Laura, 35 with whom he has two children aged 4 and 2 with, set up a Facebook page, then called: “Be Our Daddy’s Hero” to ask the public for a donor.
Laura told People:
“I was hopeful that it would work. I had to do something. We didn’t have anything to lose. When he first got listed [on the organ transplant registry], he was living life on a machine. To ask somebody to give a piece of themselves to keep him alive was a big ask. I was hopeful, but I didn’t necessarily think a stranger was gonna donate.”
The donor, Amy Pauvlinch, 28 of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after seeing Laura’s comment on a post about a man who walked around Disney World asking for a kidney donor and eventually found a match, soon found the “Be Our Daddy’s Hero” Facebook page and reached out.
Pauvlinch told People:
“I just knew that this is something that I had to do. Something in my heart was like, ‘This is the person you’re supposed to contact’. I ended up messaging her and I said, ‘I’d really like to give your husband my kidney.’ It was very, very awkward.”
Laura and Pauvlinch spoke for weeks and she later met the family. “I couldn’t even describe the experience. It was pretty surreal. When I first met them, was like, ‘This family’s gonna have my kidney!’ It was amazing… this is the family that I’m supposed to help and come hell or high water we’re gonna do this together. It was like magic,” Pauvlinch said.
After months of testing and preparation, Bill and Pauvlinch went into the operating room at Jefferson University Hospital for the transplant on July 3, 2018. Bill said:
“She was a good match and, once we found that out, our level of hope and excitement grew. Mentally, I was prepared for the worst for years. Then all of a sudden it was happening. I didn’t know how to take it. I was too amazed. It hit me, like, ‘Oh my God! this is happening.’”
Both of them are recovering fine, and according to People, they felt “great” after the surgery.
“It’s amazing. I feel like a whole new person. I felt good right away. Once I was out of the anesthesia, I was in the best mood I’ve been in in like three years,” Bill said.
“It’s so awesome and surreal, still, to know my kidney is in his body kicking so much ass for him!!” Pauvlinch wrote in an Instagram post earlier in July.
Laura shared an emotional post on Bill’s journey on Facebook following the success of the procedure. She wrote:
I held my breath when the doctor said you needed to start dialysis…
I held my breath when you commuted an hour to work everyday & then spent 3 nights a week on a machine…
I held my breath when you spent 10 days in the hospital for sepsis in your dialysis perma-catheter…
I held my breath when you lost your job because the effects of kidney disease and dialysis caught up to you, making it difficult to work…
I held my breath watching you experience side effects from living on a machine (migraines, nausea, exhaustion)…
I held my breath every time someone sent a message to me through the kidney page, wondering if they would be the one…
I held my breath for the CALL…
And the CALL finally came and we found your angel kidney!
Tuesday, I breathed a sigh of relief when I spoke with the surgeon and you successfully received the GIFT OF LIFE and a functioning kidney!
Today, I EXHALED, as you came home from the hospital with a new lease on life and new possibilities. We know this gift may not last forever and there will be bumps in the road, but tonight I EXHALE.
If nothing else, this journey has taught us just how fragile life is and at any moment it can change. We continue to be cautiously optimistic and make plans for the future filled with hope and good health. We thank Bill’s hero for this gift and the ability to imagine endless possibilities for our family.
#becauseofanorgandonor #giftoflife #livingdonor #organdonation