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Paramedic who saved a former marine's life saves his daughter too seven years later

John Cunningham and his daughter Molly Jones cannot fathom what life would be like without Kristi Hadfield.

Paramedic who saved a former marine's life saves his daughter too seven years later
Representational Cover Image Source: Pexels | Mikhail Nilov

It's incredible enough to have a person help save your life but to have the same individual save that of your daughter also years later... A double miracle indeed! Kristi Hadfield ended up saving not just John Cunningham, a military veteran, in 2016 but his daughter, Molly Jones, years later. Hadfield rescued Cunningham when he went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance. She got the driver to pull over as they worked together to save Cunningham. Through chest compressions, she managed to restart his heart. 


“We live in a very small town,” Jones told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I wanted to know who saved my dad.” Hadfield had reached out to Cunningham first via Facebook and later Jones sent Hadfield a friend request as well. Jones and Hadfield developed a friendship over social media just by sharing jokes and memes back and forth. They had never met until one fateful day.

In January 2022 Jones suddenly got bad headaches and felt her heart race. She checked her blood pressure and was shocked to see it was 219 over 193. When she went to the ER she was devastated to learn she was in stage 4 renal failure. “It seemed like whatever I did, the function just kept dropping and dropping and dropping,” she said. She soon went into the most severe stage of renal failure, stage 5.


While Jones shared updates on social media, Hadfield kept following them. She then enquired about Jones' blood type and found out they were both A+. Hadfield immediately began the process of trying to donate her kidney. “This family has just, gosh, they got a piece of my heart,” said Hadfield, 56. “I get emotionally impacted by the patients that I’ve had and this family was just incredible. My kids are grown and I have grandkids now, but I wanted her to be able to see her daughter grow. I wanted her to be able to hold her grandkids.” Speaking of donating her kidney, she added, “You check the box on your license that you want to do it but you never think about actually doing it. But this was never a question of if I could—it was just when.”

In December, just a week before the transplant, they met in person. It was an emotional moment for everyone including Cunningham who was also there to support them. Hadfield’s kidney was successfully transplanted into Jones and almost immediately, her kidney began to function again. “It’s like she’s our guardian angel,” said Jones. “She is an absolute blessing. Because of her, I will get to see my daughter graduate from high school. I got to see my 42nd birthday, which I wouldn’t have gotten to.”

Amit Tevar, ​​surgical director for the Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Program at UPMC’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute has never seen a case like this in his life. “I see and hear a lot of great stories and this is one of the most remarkable ones I’ve ever heard,” he said. “An EMT who saved one life already is now saving that patient’s daughter’s life?” Remarkable indeed!


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