Local Pastor Part Of Longest Kidney Donor Chain
HIGH SPRINGS - More than 100,000 Americans are in desperate need of a kidney transplant. For some, the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor can stretch as long as eight to 10 years. However one national program is speeding up the process. One pastor in North Central Florida is part of the longest living donor kidney transplant chain in a US hospital.
Pastor Derek Lambert is described as a selfless man and giving up his kidney to a stranger so that his longtime friend can get one in return; might prove just that.
There are lifelines that spread all across the country. One was just created from High Springs, Florida to Abita Springs, Louisiana. "To think about being able to meet such a great need in someone's life is pretty overwhelming," Pastor Lambert said.
Derek Lambert has been a pastor at First Baptist Church for two years now. He donated one of his kidneys to Allison Nelson, a complete stranger. All so that his friend and a deacon at his former church-- Michael Little could get a kidney in return.
"I was reminded by the lord that there are some things I cannot do but there are some things that I can," Pastor Lambert said.
The operation was possible by the Incompatible Kidney Transplant program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. Recently, ABC Nightline produced a story featuring pastor lambert along with other donors and recipients across the country.
"UAB is on the cutting edge of this. And I am hoping as they have indicated to expand to this to other hospitals that would highlight, celebrate and invest in living donor programs that would provide opportunities for others to receive kidneys," Pastor Lambert said.
In order to receive a compatible kidney, each recipient must have someone in their life willing to donate a kidney to a stranger in their honor, to keep the chain going. Pastor Lambert’s wife, Nichole Lambert vividly remembers the day of the operation. "The day of the surgery... Leading up to that day much prayer and anxiousness and the day of was obviously we had anxious nerves but also a peace because we knew this was something the lord had called us to do," Nichole said.
The program is providing recipients with more compatible matches and younger organs. "It's an amazing opportunity to see life saved through the giving that UAB has provided there. The program there, every doctor, every nurse, every individual that we met along the way went above and beyond to care for the needs of the patients and their families,” Nichole added,
For Pastor Lambert, his organ is not only saving lives but changing them. As he gave new life to a young mother of 11-year old twins and someone else is saving his friend's. "Jesus died for us. He gave life to dead men. And embracing this opportunity I was able to be an instrument in his hands and give life to someone who is dying," Pastor Lambert added.
This chain can continue indefinitely, as long as there are willing donors. To check out ABC Nightline's coverage on this, click here.
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