Nashville VA Brings Together Organ Donors - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Nashville VA Brings Together Organ Donors

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One of the country's premier transplant centers for vets is right here in Nashville and the center helps thousands of veterans who need organ transplants every year.

On Friday, two veterans who didn't appear to have anything in common became linked for life. One was a 43 year old family man from Arkansas and the other a 24 year old college student from Rhode Island. On the surface they appeared to be a lot different, but they turn out to be a perfect match.

Donating an organ is one of the most unselfish sacrifices you can ever make, but just imagine giving up a part of yourself to a complete stranger. That's what former Marine Blake Costa did earlier this week.

"You know after monitoring his Facebook page and seeing that there was no significant changes I thought I have that ability to help him out," said Costa.

Navy veteran Tim Lumpkin needed a kidney. He used a Facebook page to find a donor with the hope that someday he'd feel good again.

"You know you almost forget what good feels like, so when somebody says you're going to feel good you really don't know what that's going to be like," said Lumpkin.

Lumpkin had been through dialysis for several years and at the same time he was raising three teenagers. Costa says seeing the children was one reason he decided to help out. His own father passed away when he was just 16.

"I couldn't imagine them being restricted to their life with their father due to such a thing where I could help," said Costa.

The VA hospital in Nashville is one of the premier kidney transplant sites for veterans in the United States. So off to Music City they went, Costa from Rhode Island and Lumpkin from Arkansas. Doctors performed the surgery Wednesday and both patients recovered well.

"I woke up at two o'clock, I came out of surgery and I looked at the clock and I could tell that everything felt better," said Lumpkin.

Now, there's an everlasting bond between them. Costa sees a trip to Arkansas coming someday soon to visit Lumpkin and his family.

"In the future I'll definitely be making a trip out to Arkansas to visit him and his family. You know it's a fraternity what we have as veterans and as Americans. You know our friendship will be forever," said Costa.

"I couldn't ever see us not being tied together forever for life now," said Lumpkin.

Both men could be released from the hospital this weekend. Costa, who is the donor, will be free to return to Rhode Island. Lumpkin will have to stay in Nashville for at least another week to undergo a series of tests. Doctors want to make sure his body doesn't reject the kidney.

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