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Facebook connection leads perfect stranger to donate kidney

March 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Newport Beach woman is about to undergo surgery to help save a stranger's life. It all started with a connection on Facebook. Now a man all the way across the country is about to get a new kidney. These two Facebook friends say they've now become like family.

Separated by 3,000 miles, brought together by a Newport Beach woman's desire to save a life. On a Friday in October 2011, Eddie Beatrice had surgery on his left rotator cuff.

Three days later, the 51-year-old husband and father of two in North Reading, Massachusetts, was beginning a fight for his life after a bacterial infection sent his body into septic shock.

"I went from having two healthy kidneys to zero -- end-stage renal failure," said Eddie.

Eddie spent three and a half months in the hospital and has been undergoing dialysis three days a week. His sisters wanted to donate a kidney but they were medically disqualified.

So on January 1, Eddie went online and found the Living Kidney Donors Network Facebook page. He saw a post from Kelly Wright in California.

"Immediately I looked down and Kelly Wright had just written -- I didn't know her naturally -- 'I've decided to donate my kidney,'" said Eddie.

"I just thought it would be an incredible gift to help another person," said Kelly.

Eddie sent Kelly a message.

"I commended her on her decision and I introduced myself, and she friended me on Facebook within 10 minutes, and we just started communication," said Eddie. "The very next day she called Mass General [Massachusetts General Hospital], and the rest is history."

Testing showed Kelly was a medical match, and two will undergo surgery next Tuesday.

"I get a gift too," said Kelly. "I get to see him feel better. What a gift. What a wonderful thing."

Kelly is a 44-year-old wife, mother and veterinarian. To Eddie, she's even more.

"She's going through this for me. It humbles you. It really, really humbles you," said Eddie.

With waiting lists for deceased donor kidneys being years long, Eddie and Kelly hope their story will lead to more awareness for living kidney donation.

They were two complete strangers from opposite coasts who say they'll now be family for life.

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