Twenty-six-year-old Stacey Hewitt was going into kidney failure when her father Darren decided to make a last attempt to save her life. Hewitt was in desperate need of a kidney transplant, but neither he nor her mother were a match. She was on a transplant list, but the average wait time for someone in her condition was three years. Faced with losing his little girl, Darren did something slightly unorthodox — he posted an appeal for her life on Facebook.
"Good evening ladies and gents, is there anyone out there that would like to donate a kidney to help my daughter? She has kidney disease and needs a transplant as soon as possible. Myself and my wife have had tests but are not able to donate due to different blood groups and low function in our kidneys. She is the mother of our three-year-old grandson and finds it hard to function properly because of the illness.
Thank you for your time."
Considering the nature of his ask, Darren wasn't expecting much, but within mere minutes, he was flooded with responses from incredibly caring strangers. "Within seconds, my inbox went mad," he told the Daily Mail. While most were just messages of support and sympathy, one woman named Louise Drewery offered a truly priceless gift — her own kidney.
"My husband Nigel and I were just sitting one night having a glass of wine and we went on Facebook," she said. "When I saw the message I knew that if I could help, I would."
However, it wasn't as simple as, "Oh you need a kidney? Here, take one of mine!" Drewery had to go through a year's worth of testing before she could be deemed eligible to be Hewitt's kidney donor. While she could have dropped out at any time, Drewery stood by her initial offer, because Hewitt had a 3-year-old son, and she couldn't imagine him growing up without his mom.
Once the operation was scheduled, Drewery did have some understandable reservations. Live kidney transplants are far from the easiest operations to endure, especially for the donor. She told the Daily Mail, "My biggest fear was not waking up and my kids being without a mum, when the reason I'm doing this is so another child isn't living without a mum."
Hewitt and Drewery met for the first time right before their scheduled surgery, and that was enough to reassure Drewery that her decision to go forward with the donation was the right one.
Thankfully, the operation was a success all around. It was also the first live kidney transplant to have come about via social media in the United Kingdom, so Hewitt and Drewery have also made history. The women have formed a bond throughout this whole ordeal that will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Hewitt was so overcome by Drewery's generosity, especially considering the fact that she was a stranger to her. However, kidney donation of this sort is becoming more and more popular. The United States has seen over 6,000 living kidney donors step up in the last 10 years alone. This is likely due to the development of social media, which allows relative strangers to reach each other at a click of a button. Hopefully, this incredible story will encourage more selfless people to come forward and save a life.
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