BOSTON (CBS) – “I am definitely feeling better day to day,” Eddie Beatrice said walking near his home in North Reading. It was just one week ago, Tuesday, April 2nd, when he and Kelly Wright went into major surgery. She donated a kidney. He received it. “I came up to see him pretty much as soon as I could get out of bed,” Kelly said.
The transplant took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “There were a few complications, but no regrets,” Eddie said. He took the organ immediately, but ended up back in Intensive Care with when his blood pressure dropped and his temperature rose. “I was really worried about it,” said Kelly who was still in the hospital on a lower floor.
And to think these two didn’t even know each other until January 1st. Eddie, in end-stage renal failure since shortly after a routine surgery in 2011, became determined to change his fate. “I don’t know if I would’ve lasted five years.”
Within an hour and a half of getting online, researching kidney transplants and donor sites, he found a posting from Kelly in California on The Living Donor Network page on Facebook.
By then, he’d been through a lot including dialysis three times weekly. “Now it seems like the whole thing was just a really bad dream and now I’m waking up from it and I have Kelly to thank for that,” he said. “She saved my life. She’s a hero.”
Eddie isn’t out of the woods just yet and will take anti-rejection medications the rest of his life. “This is the crucial time right now. You know the body is going to try to reject that kidney and it is going to do its best because that is what our bodies do,” he explained. But he has hope now. He hopes his and Kelly’s story can become a call to action. “We hope and pray that this inspires other people,” he said.
Both will advocate for living organ donation, but there are more lessons in what has been a strange but joyous journey so far. “It’s amazing when you put your faith in it and you go for it what can come about. You have to create your own change of luck,” he said.
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Kelly added, “I think it is about giving and being able give of yourself and not expecting something in return.” She joked it doesn’t have to be an organ, but just something small for someone in need.
Both will continue updating their respective Facebook pages and websites and feel grateful their story, which got national and international attention, has helped others. “I’ve had people from other countries say wow, it is a great thing you did,” Kelly said. “I still don’t think it is anything anyone else couldn’t do.”