Many people don't get to meet their organ donors. That's true for one Bakersfield man, but he has become close with the family of the girl he says is the angel he never got to meet.
In 2014, Raleigh D. Jones was at work when he collapsed on the job.
He went to the hospital where his life changed forever.
“They said, ‘Your blood count level is two...which I guess is a corpse,” Jones said.
Doctors told him he was lucky to be alive.
“They told me my organs were done, my kidneys were done,” Jones said. “This is where you’re at. It’s a crazy feeling.”
Raleigh was ready to fight. He stuck to doctors’ orders.
“No drinking, no smoking, no nothing,” Jones said.
But that wasn’t enough. After Jones went through dialysis, they told him there was no way to rejuvenate his kidneys.
He was told it would be 15 years before they could find a match for him. That’s when his kids started posting to social media in search of a kidney for their father.
That’s where John Rosso comes in.
“My daughter said, did you know Raleigh is on dialysis?” Rosso said.
Rosso and Jones know each other through their kids. Rosso says something told him to give Jones a kidney.
Amazingly, Rosso was a match. But, when he went in for one of the final tests, his blood pressure was too high, and he would have to wait another three months to be re-tested.
During that waiting period, his family received terrible news.
Rosso’s niece, Ashley, had been hit by a car and was in serious condition.
After days of no improvement, the family was asked if they would consider organ donation.
“I found out through my sister in law that Ashley had filled out a donor card,” Rosso said. “If she’s going to donate a kidney, I wonder if she’s a match.”
Ashley was a match for Jones.
“That’s how god works, it was meant to be,” Rosso said.
“I got the phone call from John saying we would like to donate her organs to you... How can you even think about me?” Jones said, “She was the little angel that I never knew.”
It was February of 2015 when Ashley’s family watched one helicopter take off south to USC where Raleigh was waiting for a new, healthy kidney.
“There are caring and wonderful people here who would give you the shirt off their back if given the chance to do so,” Jones said.
The transplant was successful.
“I’ve told her mom, your daughter has not passed away. She’s living with me every day,” Jones said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 110,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list.
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