Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kidney Crazy

So I have been thinking about how to start this blog since well, it’s too long ago to remember at this point.  Kate and I have been discussing this since August of 2010 when we visited Ashley in the hospital at UNC Chapel Hill.  Yet alone the first time I discussed this with Ashley on a couch in Lima, Peru at about 3 in the morning in June of 2007.  So needless to say this has been a long time coming. 
I considered doing it like a play and how people respond when I tell them about it.
Me:  I’m donating a kidney to my wife’s best friend from college.

Them:  Are you crazy, I mean I know you’re crazy but that is a pretty big deal, have you thought about it?

Me:  Yup I’m crazy and I’m doing it, and yes we have put a lot of thought into it.
But that gets kind of boring fast plus I’m really not that good of an actor in print.  So I will answer some basic questions that I figure everyone wants to know the answer too, and then I am going to start from the beginning from my point of view.  Maybe I can get Ashley or Kate to chime in from time to time with their perspective to make it a little more interesting and to give me a break.  Well I hope you enjoy it and to quote my favorite online writer, Bill Simmons, “we will give you a full refund”.
  • When is this happening? – Right now the hospital is holding Feb 7th or Feb 14th for the surgery.  I have a doctor’s appt on Jan 20th with a nephrologist (kidney doctor) which should just be a formality.  NC State Law requires all donors to be consulted by a separate nephrologist then the receipt, thus getting an unbiased opinion.  The nephrologist I saw at UNC had consulted on Ashley’s case.  So I need to see yet another one to make sure we have everything in order.
  • Who are you giving it too? – Kate’s best friend from college, Ashley Quinones.
  • Where is the surgery? – Chapel Hill, NC at the University of North Carolina Medical Center, Go Tarheels
Ephesians 5:15-17 - Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

As I type that verse I have to say I hadn’t been making the most of every opportunity back in 2007, however for some reason God led me to a mission trip to Pucallpa, Peru which changed my life.  I met Kate in a mission trip meeting, all I remember is she was wearing some incredibly bright color shoes and had one of her bags, which for those of you who know are also very vibrantly colored.  I thought to myself I wonder what the girl from Palm Beach is doing going to the jungles of Peru. Kate’s recollection of that meeting is a little different; I think the exact quote from her is “were you even at that meeting”.  Little did I know that going on 5 years later we would be having our third wedding anniversary on January 25th (shameless plug to prove I remember it, and remind myself to buy a present). 

I wouldn’t meet Ashley until several months later when she came into town for one of the team meetings.  I mean who fly’s from North Carolina to Florida for a mission trip team meeting, I remember thinking both Kate and Ashley were a lot of fun, I actually went over to Kates house and helped make trail mix for the trip, Kates sister Betsy wondered who I was interested in I guess we know how that turned out. 
Anyway Kate and I were broken up into the same 5 person small group of the mission team, and David Oates looked at us and said we have a pretty good idea who will take the lead of that group, and well 5 years later we are still trying to figure that part out. 

Sorry right about now you have to be wondering when am I going to start talking about the kidney and why so much about Kate and my relationship.  Well I’m sorry but my relationship with Ashley began at exactly the same time as my relationship with my wife, and there is just no way to tell the story without including mine and Kate’s story.  In truth there is no story bringing us to this point without our story.  Lastly I will always refer to the decision to donate a kidney as our decision, I didn’t decide to donate a kidney to Ashley, Kate and I decided one of us would.  It just turned out that the one of us became me.
Back to the story, Kate, Ashley, Stephen and I became an instant group on the trip, I can’t really explain it to you but “Los Teamos Quatros, es numero uno, Inca Kola, Pantalones” (that’s what we called ourselves) were inseparable.  And I can’t help but smile thinking about it now.  That trip has redefined my life in ways that I couldn’t possibly explain, almost 5 years later I went from the guy sitting in the back of church because I was supposed to go, to a man leading multiple Bible study’s and having several other leadership positions within the church (But I digress because I am on the second page of the first blog entry and this could fill up several more).

At the end of the trip when we were back in Lima, the four of us went back out after everyone went to bed at the hotel.  We went down by the Pacific Ocean, which in Mira Flores, Lima doesn’t really smell all that nice, and from everyone I have told this story too tells me, we are still lucky to be alive.  Anyway at about 2AM Kate and Stephen headed up to their rooms for bed.    Ashley and I stayed down in the lobby on the couches.  I know I can’t recite the entire conversation we had in the lobby, but we laughed, we cried, and we prayed a lot.  I get goose bumps right now thinking about it, it was a very special night that is hard to forget.  That is when Ashley let me know that at some point in her life she would need a kidney.  We talked about what that meant and how to determine if someone was a match and we realized we had the same blood type.  I told her right there that day, that she could have one of mine. 
Now you’re thinking ok anyone would have said that, and I agree that is true, but I was dead serious at that time.  The only thing I have ever been surer about was asking Kate to marry me almost exactly one year later.  I’m not sure that I realized that day, over 4 years ago now, would have led to this point, but I know God had a plan for putting both of us on that trip, at that exact point in our lives, and I know that it is bigger than our friendship. 

I know there are risks involved; I know a lot of people can’t understand this choice. But if you could understand the changes God has made in my life, and what he has done for me, the true question becomes; how could I not do the thing that he put me on that trip for?  This is why he put Ashley in my life.  Ashley and I made this decision in Peru in June of 2007, Kate and I confirmed it in August of 2010, and now we are very close to it actually happening. 
I hope you continue to read the blog, as it fills in the rest of the story, I just thought it was important to give you a foundation of where it all started. 


  1. As a friend of Ashley's sister I applaud you on this. It takes a special person to reach out and you are right. God put you in each others life for this exact purpose. God spoke and you listened. YOU are amazing.

  2. Thank you so much, Jeremy, for being there back in 2007 and for following the path God set you on. I know it's not easy and will mean some tough days ahead for you as you heal from the surgery. We're all in your corner, and you're definitely showing so many, many people what being a Christian is all about.

  3. Thank you Jeremy and Kate for doing what Jesus said to do... What a testimony.

    Donna Beasley