A local man was desperately seeking a kidney when his wife posted a status update asking for donors.
They got a quicker response than they’ve ever imagined. Two families were connected forever through social media.
It began when doctors gave Joseph Jack the bad news. He needed a kidney right away, but the list for a kidney is long. When doctors suggested using social media, Joseph’s wife headed for her Facebook account.
“This is what I posted: ‘Have you ever considered becoming a live organ donor?’” said De’Onna
De’Onna felt she had nothing to lose and her husband’s life to gain when she posted that line. But Joseph was not a big fan of social media.
“Generally I’m not one to put a lot of information on the Internet,” said Joseph.
But this was different. Diagnosed with diabetes at 22, doctors told Joseph, who was 48 at the time, that he was in renal failure. He would soon go on dialysis without a kidney donor.
The donor list for a kidney had 30,000 people ahead of him.
“I didn’t see anyone who was going to come and sweep me off my feet and give me a kidney,” he said.
Then doctors at UC Davis gave wife De’Onna an idea: take advantage of social media.
“I just figured someone may come forward, so putting it out there was important, not realizing he was gonna find someone,” she said.
A casual acquaintance, Kathy Madison came across that Facebook post.
“My heart went out to them. I just knew it was gonna be me,” she said.
Kathy responded to the post and agreed to get tested.
“When thinking about helping someone with nothing in return, I liked that thought,” she said.
When she found out she was a match she called Joseph.
“Words can’t describe how I felt. It was an amazing feeling,” said Joseph.
Today, on the one year anniversary of the kidney donation, Joseph and De’Onna surprised Kathy at work. Truly grateful to his wife and to Kathy, Joseph admits it’s been an incredible experience with a new, long-lasting connection he’d never guess came from Facebook.
“We’re intertwined now and we are very close, and I mean I tell her I love her and I mean it when I say it,” said Joseph.
Joseph and Kathy are both doing well with no side-effects. They hope others use social media to connect donors with recipients.
And even though doctors suggested using social media, when they learned about how the Jack family had found a match, they couldn’t believe it.
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