A woman in South Carolina says a higher power moved her to give up her kidney to a complete stranger desperately seeking a transplant after seeing a heartfelt plea scribbled on a car of the man’s mother.
Starr Gardy, 40, donated her kidney to 24-year-old Daniel Jones, who has been undergoing years of dialysis. The transplant occurred on Wednesday and was successful.
But the transplant wouldn’t have happened had Gardy never made a routine stop at Walmart and parked next to the car of Lashonda Pugh, Jones’ mother, who wrote a message on the back window asking for a new kidney, according to WCIV.
“God came to me and was like you have to put the message out there,” Pugh told the outlet. “I don’t think, if I didn’t put that message on my vehicle, my son’s angel would not be here today giving him a kidney.”
Gardy said that after seeing the plea on the car, she couldn’t stop thinking about helping Jones and attributed her decision to the work of a higher power.
“I can’t really explain it, it just completely moved me,” Gardy said. “I took a picture of it and I went in Walmart and I was shopping and all I could picture someone in there who had this weight on their shoulders.”
The woman then donated her kidney. It took months of preparation and testing ensure the surgery went well.
It was possible that Gardy and Jones could never even meet as hospitals are strict about privacy and security issues, according to WCIV. But the mother said she had to find the person who saved her son’s life.
The two met for the first time on Thursday, just a day after the operation, with Jones saying Gardy is now part of his family.
“It’s a lot knowing that I have her organ in my body,” he told the outlet. “We’re family now. She’s not just a stranger anymore, she’s my aunt.”
“I told him if you start to like wine now, I’m sorry,” she said. “Yes, I’m his aunt now, I’m Aunt Starr.”
Jones will have to undergo a rigorous recovery program taking about six weeks, as transplants are often more difficult on those receiving it.
Yet Pugh says that’s nothing compared to the fact that her son’s life was literally extended for many more years.
"I want him to be able to do all the things he wants to do,” Gardy said. “I just want him to be able to live and have a good life.”
Jones agrees: “Just go and enjoy life like how I used to … I’m feeling wonderful, just a little sore but I’ll get through it.”