Charles Ripple only knew Doug Dixon casually, from church.
But after what happened earlier this year- the two men from Wayne County now share a bond for life.
“I feel great. The best I’ve felt in several years,” says Ripple.
In December of 2010, doctors told Charles he needed a kidney. Family members were willing, but not exactly good matches. Doug then stepped forward, and offered to be tested.
“When I heard that their son didn’t work out as a donor, I knew the lord said- you gotta do this. Never any question in my mind,” says Dixon.
Turns out Doug wasn’t a match for Charles either, but still willing to help. Doctors at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre then told them about the alliance for paired donation.
“To be the first international transplant is unreal. I can’t believe it was me who got it,” says Ripple.
The kidney Charles received came from a woman in Greece, who flew to Toledo,Ohio, where the alliance is headquartered, and donated so that her husband could receive a kidney.
Video, courtesy of Geisinger, of Charles’ transplant, done at the facility in Plains Township can be viewed above.
The transplant was made possible by only Doug’s kidney donation to a woman in Kentucky.
“They harvested Doug’s kidney at the same time, so when they dropped off mine in Wilkes-Barre, they picked up Doug’s and flew it to Kentucky,” says Ripple.
“Her son is getting married in July, and she said if she hadn’t gotten one, she never would have made it to the wedding.”
That woman’s husband then donated his kidney to someone else and the chain goes on.
Charles and Doug both say it’s an experience they’ll take with them always.
“I’m actually glad that Charles and I weren’t a match, because it has helped more people than I could have ever imagined, It’s been amazing,” says Dixon.