A Nashville man in need of a kidney underwent transplant surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Thursday thanks to a nurse at Baptist Hospital.
Thirty-eight-year-old Jason Hearne's kidneys failed when he was just 10 years old.
“I had strep throat and the strep throat wasn't taken care of and it went down into my kidneys,” he told Nashville's News 2 from his hospital bed at Vanderbilt Thursday.
The life-saving kidney was donated by a co-worker of his wife Terra's at Baptist Hospital but the two barely knew each other.
Terra Hearne is a day shift nurse at the hospital and Lisa Cejka works the night shift.
During shift change one morning in early June, Cejka discovered Hearne crying in the break room and asked her what was wrong.
“She mentioned that it looked like Jason's kidney was failing and he was going to need a transplant,” Cejka recalled.
Cejka, a pastor's wife, walked out of the break room praying for the couple.
“As I was walking out I was just praying, 'Jesus, just bless them, help him get a kidney,'” she recalled. “I felt like it… it wasn't audible, but He said your kidney is a match and you can give him a kidney.”
The next morning, Cejka told Hearne she wanted to be tested. She was a match and just nine weeks later, donated her kidney.
“How do you thank somebody for giving you the gift of life?” Jason Hearne asked while fighting back tears. “You can't,” he added.
Jason Hearne said he agreed to share his story to encourage others to become organ donors.
“Take just a few seconds and turn their license over and sign that donor card because there are so many people who need organs out there,” he said.
Thursday was Jason Hearne's second transplant. Since doctors don't remove kidneys that aren't working he now has four kidneys.