Ohio resident Molly Jones was worried about the possibility of leaving her 15-year-old daughter behind in the event of her death from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
She posted an impassioned plea on Facebook asking someone to consider donating a kidney, and a Facebook friend she had never met in person quickly responded: “how do I figure out of I’m a match?”
The woman—Kristi Hadfield, had been her friend for 6 years ever since she saved her father’s life.
In rural Richie County, West Virginia, Molly’s father John Cunningham, a former marine, checked himself into an ambulance authority where Hadfield was stationed as a paramedic. John said something wasn’t right, and Hadfield figured he needed to be examined at a hospital about 45 minutes away.
But on the way there, John went into cardiac arrest. Hadfield restarted his heart with chest compression and the help of the ambulance driver. Later, Hadfield sent Cunningham a friend request on Facebook to see how he was doing—which is when Molly Jones found her, and friend requested Hadfield as well.
“We live in a very small town,” Jones told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I wanted to know who saved my dad.”
Jones wasn’t the only person in her family to have ADPKD; her mother had it, so too did her grandmother, and her great-grandfather. Her daughter Vivi has it too.
Until January 2022, Jones had lived a healthy life with the disease, until a period when she began to suffer bad headaches and was diagnosed with stage 4, or terminal, renal failure.
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“This family has just, gosh, they got a piece of my heart,” said Hadfield, 56. “I get emotionally impacted by the patients that I’ve had and this family was just incredible. My kids are grown and I have grandkids now, but I wanted her to be able to see her daughter grow. I wanted her to be able to hold her grandkids.”
The woman discovered they were both blood type A+, and as soon as Jones was on the transplant list, Hadfield began trying to donate her kidney, something she said she never imagined doing even though she had the box ticked on her driver’s license.
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On December 27th, after weeks of difficult kidney dialysis keeping Jones alive, the transplant was a complete success. Hadfield had saved John Cunningham, and before the decade was out, saved his daughter too.
Workers at the hospital said that in all their combined years of practicing medicine, they’ve never heard or seen of such a thing. Hadfield told Anya Sostek of Post-Gazette that her grandson is 15-years-old, and already told her that if Vivi ever needs a kidney, all she has to do is call.
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