While trafficking in body parts is not allowed on eBay, apparently there is no such restriction on Facebook. And fortunate that is for Carlos Sanchez, of East Haven, Connecticut. This is the story of a desparate Facebook status update, a kind-hearted mayor, and a new lease on life.
Earlier this year, Carlos Sanchez, a 44-year old father, faced a lifetime of dialysis unless he could find a kidney donor. Unfortunately, none of his friends or family were close enough matches to qualify as donors. Carlos mentioned this on Facebook and, at his doctor’s suggestion, he mentioned that they were looking for a donor who was a match – although not wanting people to pity him, he didn’t really want to do it. And he certainly didn’t believe that posting something on Facebook would ever lead to a matching donor.
However, to Sanchez’ astonishment and disbelief, the very first response that he got was from April Capone Almon, the mayor of his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, saying that she was willing to be tested as a potential donor.
Says Sanchez, “I thought she was joking. The mayor of East Haven would offer me her kidney?”
But Almon, 35, confirmed to him, “I am serious, I am willing to get tested.'”
While Sanchez and Almon were acquainted through activities around town, and, of course, were friends on Facebook, Almon had not been aware that Sanchez was ill. Sanchez suffers from diabetes, which can lead to serious kidney problems.
Almon was tested, and was found to be a match.
“I really felt from the very beginning that I was going to be a match and a donor. I don’t know why, but I just knew it,” says Almon.
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Still, says Sanchez, “I wasn’t putting too much faith in it. I didn’t want to get my hopes high. But at a point she made me feel so comfortable that I started feeling maybe this was meant to be.”
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And apparently it was meant to be; as of this writing Sanchez is recuperating, and Almon is back at work, after a successful transplant that was performed earlier this month.
“Seeing him in the hospital and seeing him just come to life to be a whole new person and seeing him eating… I still don’t have my appetite back and he’s just eating everything in sight and that’s tremendous,” says Almon.
Almon and Sanchez now chat on a daily basis. “He calls me his little sister and I’m proud to be. It’s just a happy thing, and it’s wonderful to see him and his family so happy,” she says.
Although Almon was running for re-election throughout the process, she never mentioned what she was doing for Sanchez. Still, she jests, “I know he voted for me, too.”
Adds Almon, “I don’t want people to see this as something larger than life. There’s nothing special about me. Anybody can try to do this, and if it’s meant to be, you’ll be a match and a donor and you can really help someone.”
This is one Facebook update that we will gladly “like”!
If you are on Facebook and want to drop April Capone Almon a note of appreciation or Carlos Sanchez a note of encouragement, you can do so here (NOTE: Ms. Almon’s Facebook profile is no longer active) and here (Carlos Sanchez).
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