A Florida widow donated a kidney to the man who received the organs of her late husband 16 years ago.
In 2004, roofer Bryan Herrington, 35, lost his life after tragically falling from a house he was working on.
His organs went to four people, including Jeffery “Jeff” Granger who received Bryan’s kidney and his pancreas.
However, that kidney started to fail a year ago, meaning 59-year-old Jeff had to be on dialysis again.
When he heard about the news, he contacted Bryan’s widow, Terri, 49, whom he befriended over a decade ago.
She immediately offered to be tested to see if she was a match and five months later she was considered perfect.
49-year-old Terri Herrington donated a kidney to the same man, Jeffery ‘Jeff’ Granger, 59, who received the organs of her late husband 16 years ago. Pictured: Jeff (left) and Herrington (right) after the transplant in March 2020
Bryan Herrington, 35, died in a work accident after slipping and falling from a roof. He was a registered organ donor and his heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidney were donated, the last two to Granger. Pictured: Herrington, left; and with Terri on their wedding day
Jeff’s kidneys first failed in 2000 after about 30 years of living with insulin-dependent diabetes. In 2004, he was told he needed a transplant.
He was on peritoneal dialysis so that his health could improve enough to undergo the surgery.
At the same time, he was waiting for back surgery for a hernia and was just getting ready to tell his doctor to postpone the transplant so that he could have back surgery when he received a call on July 13.
They had found a match after Bryan suffered head trauma when he slipped and fell from a roof of a house he and his brother were working on.
He was an organ donor and three people received his heart, lungs and liver. Jeff received his pancreas and kidney.
After the first year in which recipients and donor families are only allowed to communicate anonymously, Terri, who lives in Pensacola, sent a letter with her phone number.
Jeff called her and they got it right away.
“I talked to her for 45 minutes, just as I had known her all my life,” he told DailyMail.com.
The families kept in touch for the next 15 years, whether through phone calls, social media, or personal visits.
If Terri and her two sons, Drake and Payton, visited her parents in Orlando, she would make sure to drive through Wacissa and eat or sleep with Jeff.
“We went on the boat together and there are times [he and his wife, Pam, would] come to the beach here and we would spend time on the beach, ‘Terri told DailyMail.com.
“I think it’s because of our location … so I can see it more often unlike the other receivers, who live further away. I’m friends with them, but it’s not as close as with Jeff. ‘
A year later, Jeff and Herrington’s widow, Terri, became friends and kept in touch for the next 15 years. Pictured: Terri (left) and Jeff (right) before the procedure
In April 2019, Jeff (left and right) heard that his donated kidney was failing and told Terri to dialyze again. Terri offered to donate hers, but Jeff thought she was joking until she decided to get tested
One afternoon, Jeff was sitting in the living room with Terri when her youngest son, Payton, then a toddler, came up to him and put his hand on Jeff’s stomach.
“My dad is in there,” he said.
“Sure, son, and I’ll keep him alive there for as long as possible,” Jeff replied.
In April 2019, Jeff’s Bryan donated kidney began to fail and he called Terri to tell her the news.
Terri wanted to become a living donor and made the offer to Jeff.
“When he told me, I was like,” You know, this is something I’ve been thinking about. Maybe you are the person I should donate to, “she said.
“He must have thought I was kidding or whatever and he stopped talking.
About a month later, in May, Jeff posted on Facebook that he was looking for a kidney donor. One of the dozens of comments was from Terri.
She wrote, “Did you think I was joking?”
‘Yes! I didn’t take you seriously[ly]he replied.
Terri wrote back: “Seriously like a new kidney!”
After Jeff posted on Facebook that he was looking for a kidney donor, Terri said she seriously wanted to offer the donor (photo)
Terri was declared a perfect match and the transplant was performed in March 2020, a week before the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic. Pictured: Terri (left) with the two surgeons, Dr. Kenneth Andreoni (center) and Dr. Mark Johnson (right) before the procedure
After it has been proven that the blood of the donor and recipient is compatible, there are two more blood tests AllinaHealth.
The first is tissue typing, which looks at the number of antigens or genetic markers, the share of donor and recipient.
The second is cross-matching, which causes the recipient to respond to the new kidney.
These are followed by a physical examination, an X-ray of the chest, a CT scan of the abdomen, a follow-up blood test within a week after the scan, and a 24-hour urine collection.
In October 2019, Terri was declared a match.
Both Terri (photo) and Jeff hope to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation
The transplant was originally scheduled for November 2019 at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, but Jeff had a low fever that morning.
He was eventually hospitalized with pneumonia and had to stop his antibiotics before the surgery could be rescheduled.
The new date was sent for March 3, just over a week before the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic. Neither Jeff nor Terri were concerned.
“On the day of the surgery, they kept asking me if I needed a valium. I’m like, “No, I’m not the one doing the surgery. You are. Do you need a valium?” Terri said.
According to Dr. Kenneth Andreoni, an associate professor and surgical director of kidney transplantation at the University of Florida College of Medicine, went through the procedure without a hitch.
He told DailyMail.com that a transplant for the average adult doubles the number of years they will live compared to dialysis.
Andreoni said he had never heard a story like Terri and Jeff’s.
“There have been a lot of great donation events. Colleagues have come in who want to be tested anonymously
“We’ve had people within the donation program donate to patients they befriend … but this one is truly unique, where the husband of a deceased donor would donate his own organs 16 years later. That ‘a new one for me’.
The operation was not only a success for doctors, but also for the patients.
“I woke up feeling great, like a new man,” Jeff said.
Both have now recovered and hope they can inspire more people to become organ donors.
“I want people to realize that being an organ donor costs you nothing. All kidneys are pink, there’s blood in them, and everyone needs one, “Terri said.
Jeff added, “You don’t have to be a living donor. but there’s no point in putting organs in the mud if you can save someone’s life. ‘
There are currently more than 110,000 patients on the national transplant waiting list, of which more than 23,000 are for a kidney transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.