You can find a lot of stuff through Facebook. Old pictures, new friends, the occasional life-saving organ.
At least, that’s the takeaway from the story of Jeff and Kim Charters. Jeff, like over 120,000 Americans, was on an organ donor wait list — in his case, it was his kidneys that were failing him. He’d gone through three days a week of four-hour dialysis sessions before learning that he was going to need a new kidney, a process that can take three to five years.
“I was just sitting there and in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this wait list thing, that’s not happening,’ ” Kim recalled to Bay City, Michigan’s WNEM. “I can find something. I can do something.”
She did. She took to Facebook, creating a Facebook page called “Find Jeff Charters a Kidney.” “I probably had 20 or 30 people actually messaging me and asking me how to go about the process and how to get tested,” she said.
In the end, it was one of the first people who had messaged Kim — the very first day she started the page — who would provide Jeff with his lifesaving gift.
Charters created the page in April, and a few weeks later, received news that an old classmate of hers, Rachael Milks, was a match for her dad and wanted to donate.
Deciding against delivering news of this magnitude over the phone, Kim sent her dad a poem on a postcard and, two days later, flew home to deliver the news in person at the Detroit airport.
In August, Jeff received Milks’ donated kidney, which transplant doctor Jason Denny at Henry Ford Hospital said “helped him tremendously.”
Milks, for her part, went home a day and a half after the surgery. “It really wasn’t as bad as what people initially think it’s going to be,” she said.
Jeff, meanwhile, isn’t underscoring the significance of what his daughter did for him: “I’d give her the whole world if I could. There isn’t enough thank yous and hugs in the world for Rachael,” he said.
“I got a grandson in Ohio that I’m looking forward to seeing him again, spending time with my family and just enjoying life,” he continued.