(Franklin, GA) — It appears that an effort by two local teenagers to find a kidney for their grandmother has finally paid off in the form of a living donor on the other side of the country.
Two Heard High School students, Trey and Sara Wiggins, got creative and began using the internet and social media late last year to try and help fulfill the biggest item on both their Christmas lists: a new kidney for their grandmother Beverly Wiggins.
Beverly has polycystic kidney disease, which is a genetic disorder that causes cysts to form on the kidneys and eventually causes the kidneys to stop working. She has been on the transplant list for about two years.
Trey and Sara’s innovative efforts resulted in published reports by several local media outlets and an appearance in early December of 2013 on Fox-5 News in Atlanta.
The story was published by other Fox affiliates including places such as Philadelphia and Minneapolis before eventually being seen on facebook by a California woman who felt a calling to help the Wiggins family with the ultimate donation of one of her two kidneys.
Beverly won’t actually be receiving the kidney directly from the woman. Although they share the same blood type, doctors determined through preliminary testing that her kidney wasn’t a perfect match for Beverly.
Instead the donation will happen through the “Paired Kidney Program,” meaning that the woman will be donating her kidney to another family in New Jersey in a similar situation of having a non-matching donor.
Doctors have tentatively scheduled the four surgeries for August 26 with Beverly and her California donor’s surgeries taking place in Georgia and the other two surgeries taking place in the Garden State.
The grandmother is very excited and thankful for the news. “My grandkids have given me the best gift that I will ever receive – a chance to live a long normal life with all my family,” Beverly Wiggins said. “They will never know what that letter meant to me. I didn’t know about it until I read it on facebook myself.”
Wiggins is also overwhelmed at the offer of help from her female donor all the way out in California. “She is my Earthly angel and she is now like family to all of us. Just the thought of a complete stranger doing this is awesome. Her donation has not only impacted mine and my family’s life but another family in New Jersey as well.”
Beverly wants to continue to try and spread the word to others about organ donation. “I would like for people to know that they can give this same gift of life.”
Beverly and her donor have been keeping in touch regularly throughout the process and when asked why she felt the need to step up and help a total stranger, the donor told Beverly, “God gave me two kidneys and I only need one to live, so why shouldn’t I help someone have a good life?”