In this season of gift-giving, there are some gifts that money can’t
buy. Some of the most priceless gifts are those we give of our time or
our talents . . . but what about a gift that is truly life-saving and
can forever change someone’s life? What about giving the gift of a kidney?
That is what Eric Powell, husband of Krystal Powell, Respiratory Therapist
at Methodist Hospital, will experience this Christmas as he recovers from
a kidney transplant performed on December 7 at Vanderbilt University in
Eric was diagnosed six years ago with IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disease
causing inflammation that damages kidney tissues. A year ago, his condition
began to worsen and he went into kidney failure and began daily peritoneal
dialysis. “It was a nine hour process that he hooked himself up
to at home,” Krystal said, “which allowed him to continue
his job at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana in Princeton, IN.”
It was then that the Powells were told Eric’s only chance for a normal
life would be through a kidney transplant. After family members and friends
were tested without finding a match, efforts began to expand the search
beyond their circle of family and friends.
That’s where Andy Roberts, also a Respiratory Therapist at Methodist
Hospital, enters the picture. “I heard friends in the break room
at work talking about him being really sick and how he was doing worse
and worse. I knew they had an eight-year-old son, and learned that Eric
had no energy to do things with him,” he said. “I have sons
of my own and kept thinking, that little boy needs his dad.”
Even though he didn’t personally know Eric and only knew Krystal
as a co-worker, he decided to get tested. “At the time,” Andy
continued, “I didn’t even know my blood type, so when I got
the call I was a match, I was surprised.” Not only did their blood
type match, but other titer tests showed additional compatibility, decreasing
the likelihood of organ rejection.
Andy and Eric didn’t meet until two weeks before the transplant when
they went to Vanderbilt for pre-op testing, but there is now a bond between
them and their families that will never be broken.
“Andy gave me my life back,” Eric said. “Ten days out
from the surgery, I was back on a normal diet and, besides being sore
from a belly full of staples, I’m feeling good — so much better
Eric’s wife, Krystal, added, “He was down to 8% kidney function
before the surgery and it had gone up to 35% before his release. The new
kidney began working, producing urine, right away. It was a true Christmas
Andy encourages everyone to consider being an organ donor, he admits until
this situation presented itself, becoming a live donor of a kidney hadn’t
crossed his mind. “It was definitely a God thing,” he said.
Photo 1 Caption:
Kidney donor Andy Roberts, Respiratory Therapist at Methodist Hospital,
is pictured with grateful recipient Eric Powell. Andy holds a stuffed
kidney, a gift from Eric's eight-year-old son, Kaden.
Photo Caption 2:
Andy Roberts and his wife, Bobbi, are pictured with Eric Powell and his
For questions regarding this press release, please contact Brandi L. Schwartz
at 270-831-7836 or