After Good Samaritan's death, kidney flown 700 miles to father's - WSMV News 4

After Good Samaritan's death, kidney flown 700 miles to father's friend

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Stephon Parrish was the recipient of the kidney transplant. (WSMV) Stephon Parrish was the recipient of the kidney transplant. (WSMV)
COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

Many know to value the friendships that last decades. Two men in Columbia are living proof. They're forever bonded after a tragedy turned into something life-saving.

"He was better because he had his own pool stick and everything," laughed Stephon Parrish, thinking back to his time playing in pool halls with long-time friend Johnny Taylor.

"I would bluff everyone with my stick," Taylor said. "They'd beat themselves after that."

Since being hired at Saturn in Columbia more than 25 years ago, Parrish and Taylor have been close. Come night, they often hit the city, searching for all the spots with the game on TV and pool played under the buzz of the lights.

"Competition is what stirred me up," Parrish smiled.

Through all those years and games, Parrish and Taylor's friendship was a constant.

It was four years ago Parrish's health took a hit.

"I had a seizure in my sleep," Parrish said. "The ambulance guy said my blood pressure was three-hundred-and-something over one-hundred-and-something, and didn't know why I didn't die or have a heart attack or a stroke."

Parrish started dialysis, constantly reassuring himself he'd someday get a match for a kidney transplant.

"Somehow God has his ways of working things out," Taylor said.

Two weeks ago, Johnny Taylor said his son, Jason Taylor, was helping a man whose lawnmower was stuck on a curb in his York, PA, neighborhood. He said a car struck his son, leaving him on life support.

"He must've breathed on his own for about 20 minutes before he passed," Johnny Taylor said. "God blessed his soul."

That's when Parrish got a call from a nurse in Pennsylvania.

"I'm trying to get you a kidney over to Vanderbilt," Parrish remembered the voice telling him.

Johnny Taylor had it arranged to fly his son's kidney from Pennsylvania more than 700 miles to Nashville to give his friend the transplant he needed.

"I'm sorry, but when I saw this beautiful picture of his family, I just, it just did something, you know," said Parrish, thinking of a picture of Johnny Taylor's son with his fiance and her children. "It was just so beautiful. Everybody was just so happy."

Parrish said a friendship that started with games in pool halls has now turned into a responsibility to carry on a good man's legacy.

"It's more than just getting a kidney," he said. "It's just really, really special. You feel like you're part of somebody that was special."

Parrish is the father of Channel 4 associate producer ShaMeeka Parrish. Stephon Parrish said he got that kidney within 24 hours of Johnny Taylor's son's death. He's named the kidney "Miracle."

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