NORTH READING (CBS) – It was Columbus Day weekend, 2011 when a healthy Eddie Beatrice went in for surgery on his left rotator cuff.
“I had already had the right one done so I knew what to compare it to and I knew something was wrong by Monday night,” he said.
Just days later, Eddie, a father of two, was beginning a fight for his life.
“There was a bacterial infection from the rotator cuff surgery and that sent my body into septic shock and the kidneys shut down immediately,” he explained.
Eddie went on to spend three-and-a-half months in Massachusetts General Hospital. Once discharged, he continued dialysis three days a week and is still in treatment.
“I wouldn’t have made it without my family, my wife and kids and friends,” he said. His two sisters wanted to help by donating a kidney, but that wasn’t possible.
He was put on a waiting list and realized his wait could be a long one.
“I decided at the first of the year that you know this is my year. I’m going to take the bull by the horns,” said Eddie. He went online and began doing research on kidney transplants.
Within an hour and a half, he’d stumbled across something and someone that would change his life.
“She wrote, I’ve decided to donate my kidney to an anonymous recipient,” he said of a post on the Living Kidney Donor Network Facebook page, written by a woman named Kelly Wright.
“I registered with the national network just to do an anonymous donation and found their Facebook page,” Kelly said. Nearly three months later, she is on her second visit to Massachusetts from Newport Beach, California and staying with Eddie and his wife and kids in North Reading.
Testing showed she is a match and the two will undergo surgery on April 2nd. “That’s even better that I know who has my kidney and that they’re doing well,” she said.
The story brings tears to Kelly, a veterinarian with children of her own. She said she’d wanted to donate before, but the timing wasn’t right. She discussed it with her husband and family and decided the time was now.
“Is there divine intervention here,” Eddie asked. “Is somebody looking down and saying, you’ve been through enough and let’s send you an angel?”
“I’m really looking forward to him feeling better,” Kelly said. Both hope their well-timed meeting leads to more awareness for living kidney donation. It’s as if they’ve known each other for years and can’t wait for all the years yet to come.
“We’ll be family for life now,” Eddie explained.
Eddie is documenting his and Kelly’s journey on his Facebook page eddieskidneycampaign.com.