Wanting to repay the officer for taking her out of a life of drug abuse and crime, the 40-year-old jumped at the chance to help save his life.
An Alabama woman, who was once on the state's "Most Wanted" list, recently repaid an immense debt with an equally monumental sacrifice. Jocelynn James, of Russellville, saved the life of the police officer who put her in jail nearly a decade ago when she donated her kidney to him. The 40-year-old reached out to retired Phil Campbell officer Terrell Potter when she saw on Facebook that he was in dire need of a kidney transplant. Wanting to repay Potter for saving her from a life of drug abuse and crime, James jumped at the chance to help save his life.
According to WNYW, James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges between the years of 2007 and 2012. She remembers that period as one of the darkest phases of her life, one from which she didn't have much hope of surviving. "I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I shouldn’t have had no business doing, and I was just a really lost person," she told the network. This was when Potter came into her life and saw that she was going through a difficult place in her life.
"She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs and things she shouldn't be doing," he recalled. "I locked her up a couple of times". James says she was finally given the strength to battle her opioid addiction while serving a six-month stint in a halfway house in 2013, reports Daily Mail. And this year, on November 5, she will celebrate eight years of sobriety and being out of jail. "I was sick of living that life, and I wanted to do something different," James said. "I'm perfect, I'm healthy, and I had no idea that I was that healthy."
Meanwhile, in November 2019 — as James marked her seventh year of being sober — a recently retired Potter learned that his kidney was only functioning at 5 percent. Doctors informed him that he would have to face a seven to eight-year waiting period for a new kidney. "We began praying about getting the right kidney," he said. "We were looking all over the Southeast." Little did he know that he'd already met the person whose kidney would be a perfect match for him and that she lived just two miles away. James revealed that she was scrolling through her phone at home when she saw a Facebook post about Potter's search for a donor.
"I just threw my phone down and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man's kidney," she said. "If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list. It's just unbelievable that she was willing to do that," Potter remarked. A series of tests determined that James was a perfect match for Potter. In fact, doctors at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville told her that they'd "never had a better match for a kidney transplant."
Finally, on July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. "All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in," he revealed. The former cop, who now considers James another one of his daughters, added: "It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There's no doubt about that. Her giving me a kidney, It extended my life."
James credits her faith for enabling her to use a part of her body that she abused for so long to save another. "God restored me from the inside out, and to be able to give another human a kidney to extend his life is really rewarding," she said.