High school sweethearts reconnect over kidney transplant

Rockford woman and Mahomet man reconnect after 39 years to give him the gift of life.
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - One man struggling on dialysis gets another chance at life as he reconnects with his high school sweetheart―who is willing to give him the ultimate gift.

For two years, Mahomet, Ill. resident, Quinton Porter, was afraid to make plans―avoiding bonfires and relying on 10 liters of fluid every day to live, but he says one Rockford woman gave him the gift of hope.

“Figured that I’d be on the average, you know, three to five...to eight years wait list for a cadaver donor,” Porter said. “I continued to look for a living donor, but no one had stepped forward and I’ve been ill for quite some time.”

But finally, Peoria’s OSF St. Francis Hospital patient Porter received a text from someone he hasn’t talked to in 39 years.

“I’m going to give you my kidney,” Porter said. “She goes, ‘I’m the right blood type’, she said, ‘I’m retired, my kids are grown. I’m ready to do things that I want to do with my life and one of those things I want to do is to give back.’”

Because of body type differences, OSF doctors decided Porter and Rockford resident Christy Stott are not actually the perfect match like the two originally thought. That’s when Porter and Stott signed up for OSF’s Paired Exchange Program.

“I give my kidney to someone who needs one and someone else gives their kidney to Quinton and they happen exactly on the same day,” Stott said.

Almost immediately, Porter’s prayers were answered.

“About an hour later, the phone rings and it was Brenda from OSF and she goes, ‘What are you doing October 4?′ and I said nothing that I know of and she goes, ‘Well that’s when you’re getting your transplant,’' Porter said.

Stott says she was worried her age would impact her ability to donate the kidney, but doctors say it improver her chances of qualifying.

“If you qualify to donate in your 50s, you’ve pretty much already proven you’re a healthy person, that you’ll continue to be a healthy person, that you’re going to take care of your remaining kidney,” Stott said.

Porter and Stott say they’re both extremely grateful for this experience.

“The first thing I did when they wanted to get us up to walk because they walk you four times was that I got down the hall to her room just to see her and be able to say thank you,” Porter said. “You never seem to be able to say that enough because it’s hard to make someone understand how much it means to get that chance again at life.”

“I’m delighted that I was actually able to save somebody’s life, I don’t think too many people get to say that,” Stott said.

Stott’s kidney went to someone living in Ohio and Porter’s kidney came from someone living in Florida.

If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, visit OSF Healthcare’s website to learn more.