CLEVELAND — Jill Buckeye was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just six years old. Despite taking excellent care of herself, more than 50 years later her kidneys were impacted and she was in renal failure.
She was placed on the kidney transplant list and had been waiting three years. In April 2021, 22-year-old Jaylin Chadwell had just changed careers and was starting her job as a phlebotomist at Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg.
Chadwell was drawing blood for Buckeye when she decided to ask her why she was there so often.
“She told me she was looking for a kidney, and I asked her what her blood type was she told me A positive, and I said wow mine is A positive too. And she said do you want to donate a kidney and she laughed a little bit. I just looked at her and I said yes I do,” said Chadwell.
The 22-year-old Chadwell applied to be a living donor, went through extensive testing, and discovered they were a match.
“It’s like a miracle, it’s a blessing, and it gives me a longer life,” said Buckeye.
In March, Chadwell gave Buckeye her left kidney.
“She will be part of me, and she is part of our family,” said Buckeye.
Giving the gift of life is something that Chadwell planned to do since she was 12-years-old.
“My grandpa actually died of kidney cancer. He couldn’t get a transplant obviously because the cancer had spread. But just knowing that somebody couldn’t help him, it's so wonderful to be able to help someone,” said Chadwell. “I know he’d be really proud. Every decision I’ve made has led me to here."
Although, Buckeye said many people offered to donate before Chadwell it just didn’t work out for one reason or another. Buckeye is beyond grateful.
“It’s a miracle, it’s a blessing,” she said.
Chadwell gave Buckeye more time with her husband, son, and family.
“Zack has reached out to Jaylin saying thanks for saving my mom,” said Buckeye.
“These are the people who make the world a better place. There’s a lot of bad things happening around us, a lot of bad news a lot of news that we hear that breaks our heart, but this is some of the good news we hear that gives us hope,” said Cleveland Clinic Transplant Program Surgical Director Dr. Alvin Wee.
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