Last January, Jimmy Warren had what he thought was going to be a routine physical. The next morning, he received a call from his doctor's office. "They told me to go to the emergency department," Jimmy tells us. There, he learned he had end-stage renal disease. He was "shocked" by the diagnosis. "I'd had no symptoms, other than what I thought was normal tiredness now and then," he says. "I'd never even been in the hospital before." Just a few days later, he started dialysis and began what he was told would likely be a three-to-five-year wait for a kidney transplant.
That timeline changed dramatically after Jimmy's wife, Shakira, shared the news — and his need for a new kidney — on Facebook. Samantha McAnally, who knew the Warrens through their daughters' cheerleading team, saw the post and soon made an extraordinary offer. She wanted to donate one of her kidneys to Jimmy. "I kept feeling a little nudge," Samantha tells us. "My personal belief is that it was God. I heard a little voice telling me to help."
Samantha listened to that "little voice," reports KARK-TV, and "registered to be a living donor through the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota," where Jimmy, an Arkansas resident, had decided to have his transplant. After extensive testing in Rochester, Samantha learned she was a match. When she called Jimmy with the news, he was speechless. "It was overwhelming," he tells us, adding that he was amazed "by how selfless a person could be." For Samantha, it all came down to the Golden Rule. "I kept putting myself in their shoes," she says. "I wouldn't want to lose my husband. If I was in that situation, I would hope that someone would help me."
The night before the transplant, Jimmy gave Samantha — a "Grey's Anatomy" fan — a T-shirt with a phrase made famous by one of the characters on the show: "It's a beautiful day to save lives." On Dec. 13, Samantha lived out those words, donating a part of herself to save Jimmy. She tells us she would do it again, and encourages others to consider becoming a donor. "My goal is to keep spreading the word about organ donation," she says.
Jimmy, too, hopes his story and message will help others. "Live life to the fullest, and take advantage of each day," he says. "You never know when your life could be over. And if you have something to share, consider sharing it."
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