Since its launch more than a decade ago, Facebook has become a phenomenon.
For more than a billion worldwide users, it’s an addictive site where hours are spent connecting with people and reading posts. People can reconnect with old friends and stay in touch as the years pass.
It can be a very useful site overall. In our area, two people can attest to that. In their case, the social networking site proved to be a life-saving tool.
Russellville resident Kevin Blythe suffers from polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition in which clusters of cysts develop in the kidneys, impairing their ability to function. Blythe has lived with this condition for some time, and in 2005 he experienced kidney failure that required him to undergo the removal of both kidneys. He was placed on dialysis for several weeks until a family friend was able to donate a healthy kidney. Blythe remained healthy for the next 10 years until he developed complications in October that anti-rejection medication was unable to address.
It turns out the transplant kidney had failed. Blythe had to go back on dialysis and prepare for another transplant.
Blythe met with his medical team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to prepare him for that procedure. The team told Blythe stories about a lot of people who had gotten transplants thanks to social media.
Taking it upon herself to help her father, Blythe’s daughter, Allison Blythe, took to Facebook to post about her father’s condition and his need for a transplant. On Oct. 29, Allison posted a Facebook update that included her father’s blood type and encouraged people to visit the Vanderbilt transplant website and fill out the form to help find out whether they could be a matching donor.
Her hard work gave her father a second chance at life.
Within 48 hours of her post, it had been shared by more than 200 people on Facebook. Many people, some of whom she didn’t even know in Logan County, were asking what they could do to help.
Less than two weeks after the Facebook post a mutual acquaintance of Kevin Blythe’s aunt, Christi Farmer, was contacted by Brittany Brogli, who read the post about Blythe and immediately texted her and said she matched Blythe’s blood type and was willing to be tested to donate a kidney.
This was truly a miracle.
Farmer met Brogli the next day and asked her if she was sure about going forward. Without any hesitation, Brogli said yes.
It is important to remember in this situation that Brogli had never met Blythe. Brogli explained that if she were in a similar position, someone who would donate to her would most likely be someone she had never met in her life. She wanted to do something that would make a positive difference in someone’s life in their time of need.
Her willingness to donate a kidney to a person she had never met speaks volumes about the caliber of person Brogli is.
The two met on Thanksgiving last year, and Brogli went to Vanderbilt to have a blood test that determined she was a prefect match for the donation.
Not only was Brogli a donor for Blythe, she quickly became friends with him and his family. They spent time together on Christmas and were soon traveling together to Vanderbilt for doctor visits before the procedure.
They had become like family.
All the way up until the procedure on March 10, Blythe said he asked Brogli many times if she had any regrets and she said “not one minute.”
The surgeries were successful, and both of them were released two days later. They have remained in good health since.
Brogli didn’t have to donate her kidney to Blythe. She could have simply read the post and moved on about her business, but she didn’t. She put herself out there to potentially save a man’s life.
That can’t be said about many people. It takes a special person to do what Brogli did. She should be proud of herself for stepping forward and helping Blythe live to see his little girl walk down the aisle, as Brogli put it.
God willing, and thanks to Brogli’s selfless actions, he has a chance to do just that.