Susie LeRoy says it was never her kidney to begin with. It belonged, all along, to Kaleb Perry and LeRoy was just holding it for him. All it took was a Facebook post to let her know he was ready for it.
Two-year-old Kaleb was born with a condition called "prune belly." His parents, Mandy and Kevin Perry, were told by doctors that it was likely that he would one day need a kidney transplant. That day came earlier this year, after one of Kaleb's kidneys had to be removed and the other started to fail.
Mandy Perry began to spread the news far and wide that her son needed a kidney transpant. "I had to get brave and it's hard for me to ask people for something so big like that, but I had to because Caleb can't speak for himself," Perry said.
That's when she wrote the Facebook post that LeRoy, who didn't know the Perrys, saw. LeRoy didn't expect to be a match but thought getting tested would be a nice gesture. "I never thought, 'Oh I'm going to be the one to donate the kidney'. That was never my intention, it just was a mom on social media thinking, I want to be praying for them."
As test after test came back with encouraging news, LeRoy realized she was going to have to make the decision about whether she was truly ready to go forward with the operation.
"I remember driving and thinking, 'I don't know these people, would I give a complete stranger my kidney?' and I took it back like, 'Well okay if it was my child, of course I would do this'." LeRoy then went down the list: would she do it for a nephew? Yes. A friend or neighbor? Also, yes. So why not the Perrys? "I don't know them but I feel like I could."
Doctors gave LeRoy the green light to message the Perrys with the good news.
“I was putting Kaleb to bed when I saw that and I was just like, I instantly started crying,” Mandy said. “I was like, who is this?"
“It's just so surreal that this all happened and that someone would literally give a part of something to someone to just give him life,” said Kevin.
Six months after seeing the post about Kaleb’s condition, LeRoy and the young boy underwent the procedure to transfer her kidney to him. And she has no regrets about it.
“I'm just a piece of the puzzle, and I'm happy to be,” said LeRoy. “I don't know that I took my kids for granted before but I see it more and more that it's a miracle.”
Since the operation, Kaleb has remained healthy, as has the growing friendship between LeRoy’s family and the young boy’s.
No longer just friends on social media, both families now share a special bond with each other, literally.