NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two families spent their Thanksgiving in the hospital after undergoing transplant surgery, and the two don’t know each other very well.
"My husband knew him from officiating ball years ago," said Mary Lee, the donor.
"Toby and I had been friends for years. I knew his wife. We went to church with them. I would see her at church, but I never spoke to her," said Bill Knox, the recipient.
Though he never spoke to her, Knox now knows one thing for sure.
"She’s an angel," he said.
Lee said her husband ran into Knox at a basketball game. Knox looked so bad, she could hardly recognize him.
"I said, 'Who’s that?' And he said, 'That’s Bill Knox.' I recognized the name. I said, 'He looks terrible,'" said Lee.
Knox was a diabetic in need of a kidney transplant. That's why Lee made a decision that would change Knox's life.
"I filled out a form sitting in the stand that day," said Lee.
After several tests, Vanderbilt University Medical Center doctors determined Lee's kidney was a match.
"I just really felt like it was what the Lord wanted me to do," said Lee.
After six years, ten months, and 18 days of dialysis, it's just the news Knox had been praying for.
"It was a miracle. It was God sent. I believe God had a lot to do with it," said Knox.
No more sleepless nights waiting to complete his dialysis procedure.
"Knowing I can go somewhere for a change. My wife and I haven’t been anywhere. We couldn't go too far away because it was too much trouble to go anywhere," said Knox.
But on Thanksgiving night, they both had plenty to be thankful for.
"I’m thankful that I was healthy enough to be able to help Bill," said Lee.
"I’m thankful that Mary had the heart to do this," said Knox.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a kidney donor, click here.