N.C. – May 14,
2018 – When
Michael Shelton, a banker from Eden, needed a kidney, his wife, Tamara, who is
a teacher, didn’t think twice about donating one of hers. The only problem –
she wasn’t a match.
Deanna Mitchell, the executive
director of Donate Life North Carolina wanted to donate a kidney to James Brown
of Winston-Salem, whose career as a pilot has been put on hold, but she wasn’t
Then, Warren Nash, a grandfather from Norwich,
N.Y., came into the picture.
He is friends with Amy Schlee, from
nearby Oneonta, N.Y., who donated one of her kidneys in 2016 to two-year-old
Hazel Niemitalo, of Trinity.
Schlee did not know Hazel, but learned that she needed a kidney while watching
the reality television show American Ninja Warrior, on which Hazel’s father,
Kenny is a contestant.
Schlee’s selflessness deeply affected Nash
who decided he wanted to give the same gift to someone in need, and a chain of
kidney donations and transplants was started at Wake Forest
Baptist Medical Center.
“I’ve lived a good life and my wife
and I have done many things and have seen many places,” said Nash. “If I can
help someone else live a fuller life and experience some of these things with
their own family, that’s what life is all about.”
Nash – who last week traveled to Wake
Forest Baptist for the surgery – donated one of his kidneys to Michael Shelton.
Shelton’s wife, Tamara, donated to pilot
James Brown, and Deanna Mitchell donated to a recipient in Michigan, who has
helped keep the chain going.
“Although chain donations are gaining
in popularity, many people still do not know very much about them,” said Amber Reeves-Daniel, D.O., associate professor of nephrology
and medical director of Wake Forest Baptist’s Abdominal Organ Transplant Program. “This incredible story illustrates
how one person’s unselfish gift can positively impact so many people who they
don’t even know.”
Wake Forest Baptist is the largest
kidney transplant center in North Carolina, averaging around 160 kidney
transplants a year.