Longtime transplant nurse Allison Batson knows better than most that the donation of an organ can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people in need. So when Clay Taber – a 23 year old, recent Auburn University graduate with a rare kidney disease – was admitted to Allison’s wing of Emory University Hospital, she knew she had to help.
“Immediately, when Clay came onto our unit, he became a special patient that everyone just gravitated to,” Batson said. “Here was this young man with everything in his life ahead of him, and he was fighting for his life.”
As Allison got to know Clay better, she started to build a strong connection with this near-stranger who wasn’t even technically her patient. “He wanted to get married to his sweetheart. He just graduated from college. The whole world was his, with the exception of this incredibly rare illness that hit him out of the blue. I have children his age, and I felt the same kind of pain his mother was feeling. Something inside me said I needed to do more.”
Auspiciously, Allison shared Clay’s rare blood type (O-negative) and further screening confirmed that she was a perfect match to be a donor. She then literally offered part of herself to a person she practically just met.
“She said ‘My offer stands. If you’ll let me do this, I want to help you,’ ” Taber explained. “Something at that point just hit me. There are so many people in need of an organ transplant and have been waiting like me – even longer than me in many cases. And here is Allison offering to do this amazing thing. When she said ‘If you’ll let me,’ there was just something in those words. I couldn’t say no.”
The operation was performed January 10th, and both Allison and Clay are reportedly doing well. What will happen going forward? For one thing, when Clay gets married this June, he’s saving a special dance at the wedding for the nurse who made it all possible.
Source: Emory University
Photo courtesy of Emory University Hospital