ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Kevin Thompson, who works at the Machesney Park Lowe’s, says a co-worker turned a personal tragedy into a life-saving action last year.
Thompson, 61, says staying at that store location may have saved his life.
“I tried to get in at the Rockford Lowe’s. The management really liked me, but someone kept turning me down and I had to stay at Lowe’s Machesney [Park],” Thompson said.
“I was working there one night and picked something up. Just really hurt my stomach. I thought maybe it was a hernia or something. They sent me to immediate care, and the doctor at immediate care said, ‘you need to get to the emergency room, right now,'” he recalled.
Thompson was diagnosed with liver cancer.
“He put me on the transplant list, right away. But, my primary care doctor kept looking at the numbers and all he would say is, ‘I’m sorry,'” Thompson said.
He continued to work while looking for a suitable donor.
It was about that same time that one of his co-workers, Nick Arduino, lost his brother, Matthew, to a heart attack at 34.
“They just asked us if we knew anybody that needed an organ donated, or on the list,” Arduino remembered. “I said, ‘I work with a man at Lowe’s. His name is Kevin. Let me contact him.'”
Arduino’s call was the one Thompson had been waiting for.
“I got a call from Loyola (Hepatology Clinic). They simply said, ‘Kevin, this is Jeff from Loyola. Can you get here in 20 minutes? I have a male liver for you,'” Thompson said.
The liver was a perfect match. And even more, Thompson says he has been healthy ever since the transplant last December 29th.
Arduino’s brother’s organs went to four different people, and he says he wants people to realize that being an organ donor can save lives.
“I just can’t stress how important it is to really consider being an organ donor,” Arduino said. “I know we all go to the DMV and we put it on our driver’s license or state IDs, but I don’t think we really know what kind of impact it really has.”
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