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How the Facebook post, 'Kidney for Kim,' led to a donation from a stranger

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. In 2014, Kim Pratt of North Kingstown, R.I., learned her kidneys were failing. Her doctors doubted she would live another 48 hours. She survived, but would eventually need a transplant. She came to StoryCorps last year with her friend CJ Johnston to remember what happened next.

KIM PRATT: I spent five years on dialysis, and my main concern was just make it through each day and just make more days. I wanted to be here for my children. It's an interesting thing when you find yourself needing an organ. It's not something you can go rent or buy. You have to rely on the unconditional kindness of another human being.

CJ JOHNSTON: I was sitting at home, and a friend had posted a flyer saying that there was a woman looking for a kidney. I remember scrolling past and thinking, oh, someone will reach out to her. But then a couple of weeks went by, and then I saw it shared again. And I said, maybe that someone's me.

PRATT: You messaged me, and you didn't know me. I wondered what you saw in me.

JOHNSTON: My best friend, my first love - he died waiting for a new heart. Jonathan was in my class when we were 7 years old, and he walked up to me the first day and said, hi, I'm Jonathan, and I'm your new best friend. I think he recognized another child that was maybe a little geeky like I am. So from the time that I was 7 years old through the time we were 14, it was Jonathan and CJ. He was a sickly child who had been in and out of surgery his whole life. When he passed, to say it was difficult is the understatement of the world. I just remember thinking no one should have to die waiting for an organ.

PRATT: When you made that decision, you saved me. I get goosebumps because you were doing that for me.

JOHNSTON: I'm happy to have been able to do it.

PRATT: You know, we're not really on this Earth as long as we think sometimes. And when you're in my position, it's like you got wings, but everyone handed you a feather like a doctor that took care of you, the tech that used to make sure they did your needles correctly. Each person along the way is giving you a feather, and then finally you fly. But you were my needle in the haystack. You were the one. You were the one.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FADEL: That was Kim Pratt and CJ Johnston. You can hear more about their friendship on the StoryCorps podcast. Find it at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Esther Honig

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