By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
BALTIMORE, Md.—Patrice Davidson was considering whether to attend Streetlite Christian Fellowship in Federal Hill where her son and daughter attended. She had recently left another church. It was Sunday morning; she was wavering. Finally, she gave in.
“I was sitting there telling the Lord, ‘I’m going to go to church, but I don’t want to get involved,” she said. But God had other plans.
She sat reading the bulletin, half listening, when suddenly, she heard “kidney.” And her ears perked up.
Brian Zimmerman, pastor of Streetlite, was preparing to lead the church in praying for a little boy named Daniel and his family who were members of Streetlite. Daniel needed a kidney transplant.
Nine-year-old Daniel Jones was born with kidney disease and the family knew in time, he would need a transplant. That time came two years ago. Following an operation, little Daniel began dialysis. His mother, Deana, said her son stopped eating and his growth began to slow down. Daniel was placed on a transplant list while the family anxiously waited.
“That morning we received a call that two kidneys came in. Daniel was high on the list, but two others were higher. If it didn’t work out for them, Daniel would be next,” Deana Jones said. She called the Zimmermans and asked for prayer for God’s will.
Davidson couldn’t believe her ears. She was on a kidney donor list in the past and was prepared to donate a kidney to a woman who died before the operation could be performed. She knew God would provide another recipient and believed this boy could be the one. She quickly went to the back of the church to tell an usher that she was a potential donor and would like to be tested.
Carol Zimmerman introduced the two women. Deana Jones was guarded. Why would a stranger give away her kidney? She was afraid Davidson would get tested then maybe not go through with it, but after the two women talked, Jones decided to give Davidson the go ahead to get tested for Daniel.
The testing process took six months and included a mammogram, colonoscopy and a psychological evaluation.
“They make sure you’re not only in really good health, but extra good health,” Davidson explained.
Many of the tests were not covered and Davidson paid for them.
“She ended up being a match—five out of six,” Jones said. “I knew this was sent from God.”
Doctors were thrilled too. A kidney from a living donor would be likely to provide a longer life span than a cadaver, Jones explained.
Finally, all was prepared and the surgery was completed on January 14, ironically during Streetlite’s participation in a “Daniel Fast,” based on the fast that Daniel, Meshach and Abednego observed in the book of Daniel.
Little Daniel’s body accepted the kidney and he is making a full recovery.
“He’s eating more and has more energy. It’s life-changing,” Jones said.
Davidson struggled some with the healing. “It’s a bit of recovery. There’s a lot of discomfort. And I had to lay around and rest and that’s not my personality,” Davidson admitted.
So why do it? Why give away a kidney to someone you really don’t know?
“It’s something I thought about since I was a kid. You can give a kidney very easily and live just fine, but it makes all the world of difference for someone else—so why not? It’s a couple of weeks out of your life then you back to normal, so what’s the big deal?
Davidson said praying for someone in need is right to do, but going the next step and providing for that need is putting faith in action.
Since the operation, Davidson said her family has drawn closer. Her husband, Robin, was at first leery about the procedure but was completely supportive and helpful through the entire ordeal. She said her children have been telling her that they are proud of her. Others, she said, were more discouraging. They suggested she keep both kidneys in
Spiritually, Davidson said it helped her move beyond fear and to help her trust God even more.
“It reminded me to listen to that still small voice. You don’t want to do something foolish without listening,” she said.
FACTS ABOUT ORGAN DONATION
• As of 2010, over 105,000 people are on an organ donor waiting list
• Every day, 18 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone marrow.
• Because of the lack of available donors in this country, 4,573 kidney patients, 1,506 liver patients, 371 heart patients and 234 lung patients died in 2008 while waiting for life-saving organ transplants. 2
• Nearly 10 percent of the patients currently waiting for heart transplants are young people under 18 years of age.2
• 2008 was the first time in 20 years that there was a decline in the number of deceased donors used for transplants. Living donors in 2008 were at their lowest numbers since 2001.2