David Nicherie was only 29 years old and was already considering hospice care. He’d experienced kidney failure, and was facing a 15 to 20-year wait before reaching the top of the kidney donor list.
“I was not in a good frame of mind. Dialysis was tough and was getting tougher. It was just hard,” Nicherie told KTVU.
Out of desperation, Nicherie posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a donor.
Nicherie, who lives in the Bay Area in California, said he received hundreds of responses to his ad. But of all of the responses, only one person followed through.
“I was depressed. I was sad all the time and then I heard from her,” he said.
Jessica Morris, a surgical nurse at a plastic surgery center, was actively seeking an opportunity to donate a kidney. It was an idea she’d mulled over for years, but it wasn’t until 2018 that she made it a New Year’s resolution.
“I wanted someone who was going to be able to tell me their life struggles, what they went through, and how it was going to change them,” Morris told KTVU. “Also, I wanted it to go to someone who needed it the most,” she said.
She spotted Nicherie’s Craigslist ad while on Facebook and sent her response.
Morris sent Nicherie an e-mail and the two began a conversation.
At first, the dialogue was kept strictly to the business of the kidney donation. They exchanged information to make sure that a donation from Morris was even possible.
“I was very upfront. I said, ‘This is my age, this is where I’m from, this is my health, here is my blood type,'” Morris said.
But before long, the two started to realize they were alike in a number of ways. They were both born in 1988, grew up in Southern California, and were even born in the same hospital.
Their communication was effortless, and Morris saw their connection as a sign. She hoped to share a connection with whomever she donated her kidney to, and she felt like meeting Nicherie was meant to be.
Both agreed to proceed with the donation, and 6 months later they were both in the hospital.
After an endless number of tests and evaluations, the donation was able to proceed. Nicherie couldn’t believe he’d found a stranger generous enough to share an organ with him, giving him a chance at a normal life in the process.
“I just saw it as signs that this was meant to be,” Nicherie said. “I couldn’t have planned it better. I couldn’t have written it better myself.”
The experienced changed both of their lives, and they have started an organization called findakidneydonor.com, which aims to pair living donors with those in need of a transplant.
“We really need more living donors,” doctor Sang-Mo Kang told KTVU. “I think we need a lot more education. We need more people educating others about donation and realizing it’s possible and it’s safe.”
Both came out of successful transplant surgery on Tuesday, June 12. Both are anxious to be back on their feet, and intend to keep in touch in the future.