"This is something I can do to fix that problem. I can make life better for him," the selfless woman explained.
A visit to his favorite jeweler in Dallas in May got Aaron Wiley a lot more than he had bargained for. Jennifer Pratt of JPratt Designs outdid all expectations of customer service and humanity when, a day after Wiley stopped by to get his wife's old diamond necklace upgraded, she offered to give him one her kidneys. While helping the attorney and his wife, Erleigh Wiley, pick out a new motif for the necklace, Pratt learned that the kidney Wiley had received from his wife about 10 years earlier had failed. As soon as she heard that her customer was on dialysis treatment, the jeweler says, she knew she wanted to help him.
This is the America I want to live in and these are the Americans with whom I want to live. https://t.co/HdcVdt6LZG— RockefellerRepublican 🇺🇸🏴☠️ (@RockefellerRep1) September 3, 2020
"Aaron had been in the store a few times before, and although I didn't know him well, I knew he was a good person," Pratt told The Washington Post. "I went home and told my husband, ‘I’m going to try and give Aaron my kidney. We were living a peaceful life, drinking wine, and enjoying the pool in our backyard, and Aaron was in dialysis three or four times a week. I thought, 'This is something I can do to fix that problem. I can make life better for him.'"
Lucky for Wiley, rigorous testing determined that Pratt was a perfect match for him. Not long after—on August 25—the 59-year-old gave one of her kidneys to Wiley during a four-hour transplant surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Eric J. Martinez, Pratt's transplant surgeon, revealed that the surgery had gone smoothly and gave the private practice attorney a chance to live a normal life again. "It's a chance for him to feel well again and to break free from the inconvenience and burden of dialysis," he said.
"To give of oneself to help another to live a longer, healthier life really is priceless. Sometimes, living donors minimize the impact of their gift, but recipients and their loved ones forever cherish the compassionate decision to donate. We need more people like Jennifer in the world," Martinez added. Erleigh, who works as the district attorney for Kaufman County, donated her kidney to her husband in 2008 after he developed kidney disease. Although the kidney functioned well for a few years, in 2017, his body suddenly rejected it and he ended up in the emergency room.
"He woke up with a pain in his stomach and said he was going to lie down," she recalled. "He looked terrible. I told him, 'Either you let me take you to the doctor or I'm calling an ambulance.'" Upon medical examination, it was revealed that Wiley's donated kidney had failed and that he would once again need dialysis treatments every other day. Wiley also learned that since none of his other family members was a good match for him, his name would be added to a list with about 250,000 others waiting for a kidney on the national organ waiting list. "I knew I’d be on that waiting list for five or six years," he said. "It was very discouraging. On dialysis, you’re just waiting to die."
After nearly three years of adjusting his professional and personal life to fit in with his four-hour dialysis treatments, fate eventually brought the Wileys to JPratt Designs, where they'd previously gone to get the diamonds on Erleigh's wedding ring upgraded. It was when Pratt offered her customers a glass of water that she learned about the medical troubles in their life. She got a blood test the very next day to see if she would be a good match as a donor. "When I learned that we had the same blood type, I texted him and told him that I wanted to give him one of my kidneys if I could make it through the rest of the testing process," she said.
Well I hope he mentions this on his Yelp review. “I just went there to buy my wife a bracelet, but they talked me into getting a human kidney”— Manfred Asher (@ManfredAsher) September 3, 2020
"It was an emotional moment — I knew that she was serious because that’s the kind of person Jennifer is," Wiley said of Pratt's text. "What do you say to someone who wants to give you such an incredible gift? I was speechless. Jennifer is proof that there truly are angels on Earth. She's a person of action who never wavered. We'll never be able to thank her enough."