After already losing so much, John Rexroad gave up part of himself to save his best friend’s life.
Sarah Rexroad, John’s daughter, was diagnosed with liver failure in June 2017. Her condition swiftly deteriorated and she passed away in September at the age of 33. But the untimely death of their daughter was not the only tragedy for John and his wife Teri Rexroad. At about the same time Sarah got her diagnosis, Teri was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure.
John immediately knew that he was willing to donate a kidney to save his wife’s life.
“We went to that first meeting to discuss the possibility for her being able to receive a transplant. And I went saying, ‘I want to be a candidate,'” John told NBC’s “Today” show. “I knew I was going to pursue organ donation as soon as our daughter became sick.”
Luckily, after months of testing, the couple received the good news that John was a match for Teri. In January, they both had their surgeries on the same day.
“I’m just thrilled to be able to do it,” John said. “We’ve been together for 40 years. I married my best friend. I mean, who wouldn’t help their best friend?”
Living donation, as was the case with the Rexroads, is superior to receiving an organ from a deceased donor, as transplants from a living donor last nearly twice as long, according to the National Kidney Registry.
Many living donations are direct donations, meaning the donor knows the recipient and donates directly to them. That was the case for pop star Selena Gomez, who received a kidney transplant from her good friend, actress Francia Raisa, last year.
If a friend or family member wishes to donate but they are not compatible their intended recipient, they can participate in what is known as a “paired exchange,” in which a person donates their kidney to another recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for their loved one.
It’s inspiring that John and Teri were able to make the best of a terrible situation. We wish them both the best in their continued recoveries!