Woman receives new kidney, has message for donor

Woman receives new kidney, has message for donor
Dr. Jeff Bell (Source: WALB)
Dr. Jeff Bell (Source: WALB)
Chakeeta Jones (Source: WALB)
Chakeeta Jones (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An absolutely incredible update to a story we've been following for the past couple years now.

One Albany woman has a completely new outlook on life after receiving a kidney transplant from a live donor.

Chakeeta Jones was on dialysis for more than 20 years, waiting for the day when she would find a donor.

Well, she did.

She got the surgery, and now she's using her journey to give back to others just like her.

Chakeeta said right when she got out of surgery, the surgeon said she thanked God she got a kidney.

And it's that faith that has kept her strong.

And now, almost two months after her surgery, she wants to use that strength and faith to mentor others who are on dialysis.

"Now I have the freedom to do whatever Chakeeta wants to do as far as going on vacations, going shopping. I don't have to plan my life on dialysis anymore," she said.

Before her surgery in May, Chakeeta spent three hours, every three days of every week here at Dialysis Clinic Inc.

"It's an arduous existence," said Dr. Jeff Bell.  "Every day you wake up, you have to remember you're on dialysis.  When you go to bed, you have to remember you're on dialysis. You have to come to treatment three days a week.  It impacts everything you do in your life."

Dr. Bell said Chakeeta sets the record in terms of how long she's waited for a transplant-- over two decades!

And it wasn't without a dedicated effort.

She had to get healthy first.

"I was at like 340 at my highest, and now I'm at 162.  I wanted make sure that when I got my kidney, I was in good health," she said.

Two years ago, Chakeeta got the call that there was a living donor wanting to donate their kidney to her.

"She found out about me through the WALB Facebook page and wanted to give me a kidney, and was ready to wait two years," said Chakeeta.

The donor waited and so did she.

Now Chakeeta is healthy, with a new kidney, and a new passion: to serve as a mentor others who are going through the same journey she did for 20 plus years.

Chakeeta wears a bracelet now every day.

Her donor gave it to her.

She said she can't wait for the day she gets to meet her.

But until then, she has this to say.

I've never seen you.  I don't know your name.  I've never even heard your voice.  But I want to tell you that I am so thankful, I am so grateful, and I love you.  To give me a second chance at a better life, it just does something to me.  Not only do I carry your kidney inside me, but I will always carry you in my heart and in my mind. I am forever praying that how you blessed me, God will bless you ten times more.

Chakeeta wants more people to be educated on organ donations, and to fight the negative rumors about kidney transplants.

She said there's no better feeling than to know you gave someone a second chance at a better life.

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