Even the strongest heroes among us sometimes need a little help.
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Jeff Hackman has been saving lives as a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighter for the past 30 years. On the job, he drives a special truck that puts out airplane fires at Miami Executive Airport. It’s a career he adores, so when a routine physical revealed a problem with his kidneys, he was “devastated.”
Jeff’s kidney disease meant that he could no longer serve as a firefighter. He was crushed, but then the news got even worse. His disease was so far advanced that he needed a kidney transplant to survive, and he needed it fast. Doctors presented him with two choices.
“First dialysis, second death,” Jeff explained. “That simple. When your kidneys aren’t filtering anymore, your body builds up toxicity, so to hear that I needed the help, to hear I was on the other side of that coin, was difficult to swallow.”
Uncertain where to turn, Jeff shared the news of his diagnosis on Facebook. To his surprise, about 100 people volunteered to get tested to see if they were a match!
When his older sister, Dawn Martin, volunteered, the miracle Jeff had hoped for finally appeared. Dawn was a perfect match.
Dawn flew to Florida from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to donate one of her healthy kidneys to her brother. She says she didn’t hesitate to help him for a minute, just like he has never hesitated when rushing into an inferno to help total strangers.
“If I had the chance to save his life, I am going to do it,” she said. “It’s just like a firefighter going into a fire, and you don’t think, you go.”
The surgery was a complete success! Dawn is now living life with one kidney, but says she feels the same as before her surgery. The transplant was life-changing for Jeff, who is now well enough to go back to the job he loves! Jeff obviously couldn’t be more grateful to his big sister, but Dawn insists she was just paying him back for all the lives he’s saved on the job.
“This guy has been a firefighter for, what, 20 years, saving so many lives,” she said. “You know, I can’t even compare to that. I saved one life.”
Share this story to thank both of these heroes for helping others so selflessly.
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