VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A registered organ donor, who never imagined she would donate while living, met the person whose life she saved during National Donate Life Month in a heartwarming reunion.
“I was nervous but I was also very happy to finally meet him,” said Becky Smith, a surgical technician at South Georgia Medical Center and a health services management technician for Moody Air Force Base.
Smith said when she found out about her coworker’s husband and his condition, she wanted to step in and help.
“I found out through bloodwork that I was in stage 5 renal failure and it was kind of a shock to me,” said Timothy Daugherty.
It all started with leg pain in 2017. Daugherty decided to see a doctor.
He was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which occurs when the kidneys develop scar tissue that begins to impact the filters within the kidneys.
There are treatment options, but in severe cases, a kidney transplant is needed.
“Pretty much the whole time I just kept my faith in God and knew one day it would come, and it did,” said Daugherty.
A husband, father, at only 28 years old, Daugherty feared he wouldn’t find a donor.
“The first stuff was first to see if you are blood match, the second step is a 24-hour urine collection,” explained Smith.
The process took about a year.
On March 5, nearly five years after Daugherty’s diagnosis, they both underwent the surgery for a kidney transplant.
Smith had always been a registered organ donor, but never imagined it would happen while she was living.
“She did save my life, I’m very grateful,” said Daugherty.
Daugherty’s advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation and needs a transplant is to have faith.
Organ donations, except for kidneys, occur after someone has passed away.
One donor can save eight lives and improve the lives of dozens more. To become a registered organ and tissue donor, you can visit Donate Life Georgia website.