A woman with five daughters said it was her motherly instinct to donate a kidney to a single mother of a 2-year-old struggling with kidney disease after the moms met at a Tennessee church.
“I couldn’t imagine Karli growing up without a mom when there was something I could do to help that,” said mother-of-five Jenny Williams, 37, of Memphis.
Thanks to Williams’ kindness, 36-year-old Erica Walker told InsideEdition.com, “I have a chance to raise my daughter and she doesn’t have to grow up without a mom. I’m going to get to see her go to school, I’m going to see her grow up and get married and have kids."
Walker explained she has battled type 2 diabetes all her life.
As a result, she has struggled to have children and had a complicated pregnancy while she was carrying Karli.
Walker lost her eyesight during her pregnancy, and because of a severe case of preeclampsia, doctors performed an emergency C-section and Walker gave birth to her daughter eight weeks early.
“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to see her.”
After she gave birth, her health began to stabilize, but her kidneys continued to give her problems. Doctors later diagnosed her with stage 4 chronic kidney disease and began discussing getting a donor.
“It really brought the mortality right in my face,” Walker said. “I would look at my daughter knowing how fast everything was progressing. I knew I was not going to be here [anymore] if we couldn’t find a donor.”
She turned to her church, Heartsong United Methodist, for prayers, and after hearing her sad story, Williams, the director of children’s ministries, got the test to see if she was a match despite only knowing Walker for a couple of months.
“If you have the opportunity to help somebody you should definitely take that opportunity,” Williams said. “Jesus gave everything for us so why not give something that really in the long run you don’t actually need?”
When Williams revealed to Walker she was a match, the single mother said she had to sit on the sidewalk to catch her breath.
“I just started crying. I was really starting to lose hope and trying to stay positive, and then this lady that has five kids of her own just called and told me she could be my donor,” Walker said. “There was hope.”
Last week, the pair underwent the operation and both are now in recovery.
“Just after a week I can already feel a tremendous difference,” Walker said. “My skin color has come back. Mentally, I’m more alert. I don’t feel sleepy all day long. It’s going very well.”
While Walker gained a kidney from the exchange, Williams said she gained new family members.
“We’re officially family now,” Williams said.
Although her own daughters are older than little Karli, “they just love her to death,” the mother-of-five said.