A Gift From a Stranger

On May 7, 2019, I received an amazing gift. That gift was a kidney. 

For six years, I had been dealing with failing kidneys and everything that goes with that: doctor’s visits, biopsies, medication, regular blood work and dialysis. Those six years were really hard. My wife and I had two young children at the time, and we were very concerned about what our future was going to look like. During that time, I was constantly tired, and I could not play with my kids the way I wanted to, and I had serious doubts about my future.

Throughout the process, I knew God was there, and He cared for my family and me, but things were still hard. It was hard doing four dialysis treatments a day. It was hard not having energy. I gained almost 50 pounds, and that wasn’t fun. But it was God’s comfort and peace that really got me and my family through that time. I can remember praying Isaiah 41:10 over and over; “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Those words inspired me to trust God more every day. Throughout my Christian walk, I have prayed for many people who were in tough situations, but personally, I had never walked through something like that. When you go through a situation where you do not know the outcome, that is when true faith comes in. That is when I also believe you develop a better picture of God’s love for you. He never promised the believer that life would be perfect, but He said that he would walk with us every step of the way. I can attest that God did!

We had a great support system. Our family, friends, and church family really showered us with love and care, with phone calls, texts, cards and a lot of prayers. Every day we felt their love and support.

While on dialysis, we began the search for a kidney. I was on two transplant lists, Baylor, and University of Arkansas Little Rock. We also got the word out to family and friends to see if there were any potential matches. Within a few months, we had over 200 people who had reached out to one of the transplant teams willing to donate. How amazing! 

Over the course of almost two years, dozens of family members and friends were tested. These people loved me and cared about me so much, but unfortunately, they were not a match. I kept praying and believing for a kidney. There were days I felt discouraged and even depressed. I wondered why I hadn’t gotten a transplant yet. I wondered if I would I ever get one. Even through times of frustration, I stayed connected to God and kept trusting Him. That is all I could do. When you pray and your prayers are not answered immediately, it’s tough! We all want our prayers answered and answered quickly, but sometimes it doesn’t work like that. It is then that we must lean on Jesus. He is the only one who can truly help us through hard times.

On May 3, 2019, at just the right time, I got a phone call from my Transplant Coordinator in Little Rock who said they had a kidney for me! Later that day, I went to the hospital and had a port put in my neck and other preliminary tests to make sure I was ready to receive a kidney. After getting the all clear, a few days later, I finally received the kidney transplant. In just a six-hour surgery, the struggle I had dealt with for six years was over! 

So, who gave me the kidney? It wasn’t a family member or a friend or an organ donor. This is proof of the awesomeness of God; I received a kidney from someone I had never met. The kidney was donated by an Altruistic Donor. This is an anonymous donation given by someone who doesn’t know the person receiving it. All I knew about the donor was that he was a healthy 30-something year old male who had a big heart and didn’t want to give his identity. However, a week after surgery, I ended up getting to meet my donor. We both had follow-up appointments at the same time. Even though there were dozens of people in the waiting room, through “happenstance” (God), we met one another. My wife was talking to the people seated around us. One patient said he was there for his six-month post-transplant check-up. One person was there for their two-week post-transplant check-up and so on. Seated several spaces down, my wife asked a young man when he had received his transplant. He hesitated but revealed he hadn’t gotten a kidney. He had instead given one. Immediately, I knew He gave ME His kidney. I was in a wheelchair but managed to stand and tell him who I was. I briefly gave him a hug, we exchanged numbers, and then he was called back to his appointment. 

About six weeks later, our families were able to get together for lunch. The first question I asked him was, “Why would you give someone that you don’t know a kidney?” His response: “Because God told me too.” How amazing is God?! When I was really struggling, God was working on a stranger’s heart, instructing them to give me his kidney. That man is Thomas Burchfield, and he is a great example of Christ. He went through a lot of pain and discomfort so I could have a better life. I am so grateful for him and his family.

I want to encourage anyone that is going through a tough situation, keep trusting God. God will take care of you!

Thursday, March 10, is World Kidney Day, which raises awareness about the various kidney diseases that exist and how they can affect those who suffer with them. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to my local kidney doctor, Hayden Hemphill, Davita, Nurse Caroline, and Stinson Organ Transplant Awareness.


< Previous Story Next Story >



© 2024 All Rights Reserved.
Design By: WebProJoe.com Web Design