He has been a strong advocate for soldiers and their families since taking office, but now one Middle Tennessee councilman is going above and beyond the call of duty.
Clarksville Ward 1 Councilman Nick Steward heard about a friend whose kidney was failing, so he rolled up his sleeves and discovered he's a donor match.
Now, Steward is preparing to donate a kidney.
"It's a horrible disease," said organ recipient Wiley Bird. "The older you get, eventually your kidneys just stop."
Bird began losing use of his kidneys 12 years ago due to polycystic disease, and after a year of dialysis his doctors found a match. But a decade later, that kidney also started to fail.
The likelihood of finding another was slim, or so the 56-year-old thought.
"Found out through the Facebook page that we had the same blood type," Steward said.
When Steward isn't at City Hall, he's a realtor at Keller Williams, where he met Bird's wife, Kitty, three years ago.
She had started an online push called "Wiley's Kidney Kampaign" to raise awareness and find a donor.
"Probably about two weeks after I found out, I started thinking about the kidney donation process, did some of my research online and reached out to Wiley and told him I was interested in being tested," Steward said.
It turns out he's a perfect match, so next month the two will check into Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the transplant.
"I was very, very fortunate. They say for a transplant you can be on a list waiting for a donor for three to five years, and so this was another miracle," Bird said.
"Looking at someone else's quality of life, if you could help someone and still continue your own life, why wouldn't you at least try," Steward said.
It's a decision bonding the two families together in friendship and, now, in life.
"He might be giving me three weeks of his life, but I'm getting a lifetime. I'll never be able to pay him back," Bird said.
The surgeries are expected to last about three hours and the recovery time is about three weeks. Bird said, after the surgery, he'll have to reduce his protein intake, avoid contact sports and watch his blood pressure.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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