WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Two Winston-Salem attorneys have grown from cordial colleagues to great friends thanks to a successful kidney transplant procedure.
Holton Law Firm Attorney Carrie Vickery gave the gift of a chance at a healthy life Tuesday to colleague and Winston-Salem Deputy City Attorney Al Andrews.
Andrews has been battling with kidney failure and chronic kidney disease for 10 years and was added to the transplant list in 2010.
As an only child with just one cousin, Andrews' choices for a donor from family were unlikely and the friends that were willing were not compatible.
Andrews and Vickery met in 2012 at a Bar Association gathering.
“She worked only two blocks from me, I work on one side of the federal courthouse and she works on the other side. But she was not a regular person in my life just a professional colleague,” Andrews said.
Their professional relationship changed in July of 2013 during lunch when Vickery offered to be a donor if they were a match.
Vickery was already interested in becoming a donor for her husband, who was born with one kidney.
Although he was currently not in need for a transplant, Vickery had a blood test in January of 2013 to see if she'd be a match if there was ever a need. Instead Vickery matched with Andrews.
"These things came together too perfectly both on Al’s end and my end to believe it was just a coincidence," Vickery said. "I think that what really cemented it for us even more is when we met Evan, their son and we said, ‘Evan needs dads and we can help make that happen. And it's just as much my husband as it is me,’" Vickery said.
Monday, the two checked into Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for the procedure on Tuesday. The surgery was a success and Andrews’ new kidney has adapted well to his body.
"After they put that kidney in me, my blood pressure readings have been close to normal in about 95 percent of the reading that were taken in the hospital, that’s never happened in my life," Andrews said.
Vickery said there was never a doubt in her mind as to whether she should undergo surgery for Andrews. She encourages others to be open to the idea to help someone in need.
“It’s Christmas and I’ve got the biggest gift under the tree,” Andrews said.
Both Vickery and Andrews are recovering at home. Andrews said he will be able to return to work in February.