Auburn woman receives kidney; brother helps teen

Medicine and health

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – For several years, Auburn’s Jocelin Davis waited for a kidney.

She expected to receive one from her brother, John Racasi, in October. That changed just one day before she was scheduled to check into the hospital, when she received a phone call stating her brother was no longer a match. That call came at 4 p.m.

Davis had been waiting for four years, before a blood transfusion sent her back to dialysis.

“It was the last phone call that she probably made of the day,” Davis said. She said later that evening her surgeon, Dr. Jayme Locke, called and explained everything.

“The most devastating part about that was, when my surgeon looked at my records she was like who gave you the blood transfusion, and why did they give it to you because you didn’t have to have it,” Davis said.

The transfusion caused Davis’ antibody count to become elevated, which would have caused her body to reject her brother’s kidney.

“I was mad, I mean sad, but I was mad more than anything,” said Racasi, who was living in Chicago. “I had pretty much come down here just for that like I thought this was it; in the morning time I thought I would be doing kidney surgery and everything would be good again.”

However, he was able to give a 14-year-old girl a kidney through the University of Alabama-Birmingham Incompatible-Paired Kidney Transplant Program. Although Racasi was no longer a match, he donated on his sister’s behalf, and became part of the nation’s largest single-site kidney chain.

According to UAB, 21 living donors have changed the lives of 21 recipients as part of the chain.

“You’re devastated you know, but then friends and family come around,” Davis said. “I talked to my pastor and he told me that it wasn’t a denial, it was a delay is what he said.”

She said she still looked at it as a blessing because she later received a kidney, and her brother blessed another family.

Racasi said he never hesitated to donate through the program, although his sister was not getting his kidney.

“I knew at the end I would be helping my sister, and in the end I would be giving up the kidney so I felt like what was the difference. This way two people are getting help,” he said. “Honestly I feel like God designed it that way; maybe he stopped it that day in order for someone else.”

Davis received a kidney through the program on Jan. 31, just five months after her the original transplant date; a wait that could have taken many more years to find another match had it not been for the program.

According to Locke, a chain begins with the altruism of a stranger who desires to donate a kidney to someone in need.

“This selfless act allows us to set in motion a domino or chain of transplants that would have otherwise never occurred,” she added.

She said the chain was scheduled to continue with seven more transplants and will continue as long as donors are willing to donate.

“It provides hope, and the promise of a future that they were not sure they would ever have,” Locke said.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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