San Diego man donates kidney to man in need

Posted at 9:33 AM, Feb 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-03 12:33:39-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It’s a story that restores your faith in the goodness of others.

A San Diego man stepped forward to give a kidney and save the life of a man he’d never met, after watching a story on 10News of a young man in need.

Paul Williams says he had just come inside from a walk with the dogs. He popped on the TV and saw a story that would change the lives of two families.

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"I called my wife into the room and told her what was being said on the television," Williams said. "I simply told my wife, ‘this is what I want to do.’ and so the journey began."

That’s where the journey began for Williams and his wife, Michele on May 18, 2017.

"I was like, ok, and then I’m like, wow, all I could say, wow," Michele Williams recalled.

But for a local family of five, the journey began 26 years ago - with a birth and a diagnosis.

"If he doesn’t get a kidney, he’s going to keep losing functions," Kathy Wellman said of her son, James.

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James's family says he’s the glue that holds them together. He loves baseball and nice dinners.

James also has autism and is non-verbal. He also has down syndrome and his kidneys are functioning at just 12 percent, his mother told 10News.

Last year, James's mother said her son was in end-stage kidney disease

The Wellmans feared the worst after programs in Southern California rejected James for a transplant because he has down syndrome.

James’ brother tried to give his kidney but couldn't due to diabetes.

With hope dwindling and James’ journey possibly nearing its end, Williams' journey began.

"I had begun praying some time ago, is there something that God wanted me to do to help somebody else out," Williams said. "I just thought that the young man and his family had already dealt with an awful lot in life."

Two days ago, Williams underwent the surgery to give one of his kidneys to James.

Doctors say it was a success.

The Wellman family are waiting for James to fully recover before speaking with 10News again.

Williams and his wife on to their next journey: William's own recovery.

"The prayers of a family have been answered, and mine have been answered as well," Williams said.