Mays Landing, NJ Man’s Touching Encounter with Kidney Donor Who Saved His Life
A Mays Landing, New Jersey man was dying until a complete stranger living hundreds of miles away gave him a new lease on life. Now, the two have been united.
Roy McIntosh's future looked bleak after a taxing fight with COVID-19 weakened his kidneys, eventually leading to dialysis treatments.
The situation with Roy's kidney's became so dire that he was placed on the kidney donor list, NJ.com reports. That was nearly two years ago.
Feeling hopeless that Roy's time was running out and that a deceased-donor kidney may come too late, his wife Toshira Maldonado-McIntosh took to Facebook to convey her concern and ask for prayers on his behalf.
Within the hour, Toshira received a message from 33-year-old Heather Schaefer, who lives in Texas, more than a thousand miles away from South Jersey, according to NJ.com.
Moved by Roy McIntosh's story, Schaefer offered the ultimate gift: One of her kidneys as a living donor.
Understandably, Roy's wife thought Heather's message was a hoax, an offer too good to be true.
But in early June, Heather underwent surgery in Fort Worth, Texas, where one of her kidneys was removed. That same day it was flown to Camden, NJ, and implanted into McIntosh. The transplant was a success.
Just last month, donor and recipient met, right here in New Jersey, when Heather made the trip to meet Roy in person, her two young children in tow.
Of their touching encounter, McIntosh tells NJ.com, “I was crying. Heather was crying. My wife was crying. I said to Heather, ‘You’re my sister,’” McIntosh said. “I have a piece of her in me.”
The gift of life is the most powerful gift a person can give. If you'd like to become a living kidney donor, visit kidneyregistry.org.