Mayor Donates Kidney To Facebook Friend
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Some of us use Facebook to let our friends know what we had for breakfast or what's blooming in the backyard. Well, Carlos Sanchez of East Haven, Connecticut, used Facebook to find a kidney donor. And the donor is the mayor of East Haven, April Capone Almon, who has now taken constituent services to a whole new level.
And both of them join us from Town Hall to talk about the matchup. Thanks to you both for being with us.
Mayor APRIL CAPONE ALMON (East Haven, Connecticut): Thank you, thanks for having us.
Mr. CARLOS SANCHEZ: Thank you.
BLOCK: And Carlos, let's start with you. How did you happen to post on Facebook that you needed a kidney? What did you say?
Mr. SANCHEZ: Well, back in September, I had to go through a couple of tests to get listed for a kidney. And my doctor suggested that if I had any way of communicating to my friends if somebody wanted to get tested because my family went through the test, and they were disqualified.
BLOCK: They were not a good match?
Mr. SANCHEZ: They were not a good match. And I felt that the only place that I can place it was Facebook because that's where I had most of my friends. And being in the clinic right there, I texted on Facebook, and the mayor sent me a text. And I was expecting her to say, you know, good luck, you know, I'll be - you'll be in my thoughts and prayers, and her text was: I'll get tested. I have two kidneys.
BLOCK: How long did it take before she wrote you back after your first post?
Mr. SANCHEZ: Not even a minute, I guess, after my status went on.
BLOCK: No kidding. Now Mayor Capone Almon, what were you thinking when you sent him that message, saying I'll go get tested?
Mayor CAPONE ALMON: I was thinking I hope that I can give him a kidney.
BLOCK: Did you know Mr. Sanchez, or were you just random Facebook friends?
Mayor CAPONE ALMON: Well, you know, I have a lot of sort of random friends on Facebook, a lot of town residents. And I use it as a tool, as most elected officials do and most candidates do, to communicate. So Carlos and I knew each other, I would say we were acquaintances. We didn't know each other well. I certainly didn't know how sick he was. So I didn't know he was in need of a kidney until I read that post.
BLOCK: Well, once you found out that you were a good match, did you have any hesitation about going through the surgery?
Mayor CAPONE ALMON: Well, you know, there - really, the call that we were a match was exciting, but I didn't know that that was just the beginning. And I could've been disqualified at any time for any little physical thing that many people have.
You have to be in very good health. I always said from the beginning, I'll make the decision to get tested, but after that, it's not my decision anymore. I just felt that it was meant to be.
BLOCK: Now, the surgery, I guess, was a couple of weeks ago, but in the months leading up to this, you were in the middle of a campaign for your second term as mayor. You kept this quiet, I guess.
Mayor CAPONE ALMON: My goal was never to make this part of my job or what I do. And I can tell you, I'm seeing Carlos for the first time today since I was discharged from the hospital, which I believe was on April 12, and I can't believe my eyes.
BLOCK: Mr. Sanchez, how are you feeling?
Mr. SANCHEZ: I am feeling wonderful. And I know she doesn't like to be called a hero, but I consider her my angel. And to this day, and I said from now on, for the rest of my life, she'll be my little baby sister, you know...
Mr. SANCHEZ: ...because this - it's amazing that somebody would have compassion, care and selflessness to do this.
BLOCK: Well, Mayor Capone Almon and Mr. Sanchez, thanks so much for talking with us.
Mayor CAPONE ALMON: Thank you.
Mr. SANCHEZ: Thank you for having us.
BLOCK: April Capone Almon is the mayor of East Haven, Connecticut. She donated her left kidney to Carlos Sanchez after reading his request on Facebook.
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