Mother of Edwardsville man to donor: 'I’ll never be able to than - KMOV.com

Mother of Edwardsville man to donor: 'I’ll never be able to thank her properly'

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Brendan Woods giving flowers to Lesley Alexander (Credit: KMOV) Brendan Woods giving flowers to Lesley Alexander (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Wednesday is National Donor Day and it comes with a reminder that 100,000 people are on the kidney transplant waitlist, with 1,000 of them in the St. Louis area, according to Dr. Krista Lentine, director of living donation at SLUCare and SSM Health SLU Hospital.

Thanks to the power of social media, one young man from Edwardsville won’t have to wait much longer.

Earlier this month, 20-year-old Brendan Woods finally got to meet his hopeful kidney donor, Lesley Alexander. Other than both being from Edwardsville, you wouldn’t think they have much in common. Woods loves hockey and is focused on getting his driver’s license. Alexander is a mom of three and a Navy veteran. One of their similarities is exactly what Woods needs to live: An O positive kidney.

“I’m usually hooked up for eight hours on dialysis,” said Woods.

Back in September, his mom posted on Facebook that her son needed a kidney transplant.

“It’s a little tough to write something personal about your son and that you really need someone else’s help because, unfortunately, I wasn’t a candidate to be a donor, neither was my husband,” said Susan Woods. “So that seemed like the best way to get the word out the fastest.”

Doctors agree that social media has become a valuable tool for families looking for living donors.

“One of the striking trends in living donor transplants is increased donation from unrelated persons,” said Dr. Lentine, who noted the first successful kidney transplant in the U.S. was in the 1950s between identical twins.

A stranger at the time, Alexander saw Mrs. Woods’ Facebook post shared by a friend.

“I thought ‘Eh, I’m O positive. I’m healthy,’ and if it was one of my children who needed something, I would want somebody to at least try and help out,” said Alexander.

After a lot of medical tests, Alexander plans to give her kidney to Woods later this month.

“Exciting. I can’t believe she is a match. It’s unbelievable,” said Woods.

“How do you find the words? What do you say to someone you don’t even know who is willing to give an organ to your son? I’ll never be able to thank her. I’ll never be able to thank her properly. Our whole family is so grateful,” said Mrs. Woods.

Finding a living donor was the best case scenario, both for Woods and many others.

“Living donor is the best transplant option,” said Dr. Lentine. “It can offer faster time to transplant, reducing or even eliminating time on dialysis and its associated risks, and this can allow the transplant to be done when the patient is healthiest. Organs from living donors also tend to function better because they do not undergo the injury associated with procurement after death.”

When their own donor day comes in the next month, a team of doctors from SSM Health SLU Hospital and SLUCare will take care of Alexander. Then, the team will carry the organ through the underground tunnel to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where Woods will be waiting.

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