A woman from Indianapolis got a second chance at life when a complete stranger donated her kidney to her.
The woman was riding in her husband’s bus, when he joked with her that he would accept kidney as a tip.
In an interview featuring all four of them, they both said it’s a miracle as their plans were changed after Joyce Smith was on Rex Scott’s Brew Tour Bus.
“Joyce is definitely my savior,” said Valerie Scott. What began as a joke, suddenly became a reality, “Before he let us off the bus, he also said he takes kidney as a tip,” said Smith.
It was August the 24th, a day which that changed Valerie’s life where Rex wasn’t even supposed to drive the bus that day. “If he had not made that joke, none of this would have happened,” said Smith.
Smith went on an Indy Brew Bus with bride-to-be Heather Musch and two fellow bridesmaids. The group bonded by a need. Musch needs a kidney,which prompted Smith to become a donor with numerous doctor visits from Tippecanoe County to St. Vincent in Indianapolis.
Musch is already a transplant recipient, and is not healthy enough to be on the list, Smith’s limited window was closing soon. “I can’t take my car with me and I can’t take all these organs with me so whatever I can do now, I want to do,” Smith said.
Smith and her husband James care for nine kids including adopted, foster, and biological. One who was a kidney transplant recipient six years ago. Her father had got a liver transplant when she was little. “I just wanted to make the same difference in other kids’ lives that I as shown in my life,” she said.
James, Joyce, Valerie and Rex met up one afternoon and chatted their hearts out, in the Scott home on the near east side. This was the the fourth time that they met. “It was either dialysis or transplant,” remembers Valerie.
Valerie has dealt with polycystic kidney disease for years, and now her kidneys are the size of small footballs, and are losing function. Her mother had the same disease and received a kidney 17 years ago. But it takes not just a willing donor but a match in both blood type and six antigens.
Valerie happened to be on that bus that day, and Smith and her friends were only there as their initial plan fell through. “I made that joke and you caught on,” Rex said with a laugh. “God picked out the best person. He knew what he was doing that whole time,” Smith adds. “It wasn’t a stranger in God’s eyes.”
“Whether you believe in God or not, someone had a hand in this. There’s no way this would have worked out otherwise,” Valerie said.
The whole process was taking time, but never did they doubt one bit that it wasn’t a supernatural occurrence. Rex and Valerie said they never doubted and Smith said she hasn’t seen the kidney as hers for months. “Because the day I decided to give it away was the last day it was mine,” she said. “I’m just holding onto it for someone else at that point.”
The date of the surgeries was Jan 20, and was the 13-year anniversary of the death of Smith’s dad, on the list again for a transplant and was also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Of all the sacrifices to give someone on a day like that, it’s just amazing,” Valerie said. “If you got one, give one,” adds Smith. The women are doing well, a little bit sore, but that’s about all.
“She doesn’t understand how much she has changed my whole life,” Valerie said. She says she used to sleep for 12 hours a day and feel exhausted, but now with half of that, she is more active.
Musch was married one week after the Indy Brew Bus experience. Initially, Smith was nervous to tell her, but Musch has been 100% behind this. But as of now, she’s not healthy enough to be on the transplant list, and needs our prayers to for it to happen.