Jeremy Towry has two words for Benjamin Kelly: "Thank you." Kelly donated half of his liver to Towry, who was on a long waiting list for liver recipients.
Towry and his wife Clara attend Moody Bible College in Chicago. He has a serious heart condition and needs surgery, but doctors can't perform the heart surgery because his liver is cirrhotic due to years of medication for his heart condition.
When Towry's pastor at Christ Community Church in Tullahoma announced at services that Towry needed a liver transplant, the call was answered quickly by a family who are also church members. Towry soon received an email. It was from Kelly's mother.
"His mom said, 'I and all three of my children are O-positive, and we will all be willing to donate.' Just the fact that here's a mom offering her liver, and all three of her children, is mind-blowing," said Towry.
It turned out that Benjamin Kelly was the best option, a perfect match.
"It's pretty rare that the first option as a possibility is a match," said Towry.
Towry received half of Kelly's liver in a delicate operation performed at Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Dec. 5. Prior to the liver donation, Towry and Kelly had only been acquaintances at church. Now their lives are intertwined forever.
Kelly told Channel 4 News he had been praying for an answer to Towry's medical problems. He said he received an answer when tests showed he was a perfect match for a liver donation.
"I had been praying about it saying, 'God help him to find a way to get the help he needs.' So it was an answer to my prayers," said Kelly.
Towry still has a long recovery ahead of him. He said he is taking 20 pills a day to prevent his body from rejecting the liver he received.
Towry has a son, and another child is due in April.
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