Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Ay balked at accepting such a precious gift, though he knew he would die without it.
Ay desperately needed a kidney because both of his were failing. His mentor and longtime friend, Sgt. Darrin Offringa, had one to spare.
“I knew it was the right thing to do,” Offringa said at a news conference earlier this week. “I’m just honored and humbled by the experience and to have helped a good friend.”
Ay was diagnosed with renal failure in 2013. He was hospitalized and began dialysis. He was placed on a light work schedule.
Offringa, his friend and former training officer, checked in often and the two discussed Ay’s deteriorating condition. They shared the same blood type, and Offringa readily offered one of his organs.
But Ay was afraid that was too much to ask, and he worried it would strain Offringa and his family.
No, his friend told him, I really want to do this. And my wife is on board.
So they started medical procedures to determine if Offringa was a suitable donor.
In November, he underwent four hours of surgery to remove his left kidney.
Both men recuperated well and hope to be back at work soon.
And Ay now carries a part of his friend inside him.
“I always considered Darrin as a mentor,” he said. “Now he’s my brother.”