PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Sheila Hayes will never forget the phone call she received in mid-September.
“My sons called and told me my roof was leaking. They didn’t go into detail but just told me to brace myself,” Hayes, a Pender County resident, said.
The scene she came home to after Hurricane Florence was one of devastation. Water was pouring into her Shaw Highway home, soaking nearly everything she owned.
“It took my breath away,” Hayes explained.
Her home is a total loss but her two boys are her rock, even though one of them is ill, adding more stress to an already emotional time.
“Kamali is 23. I adopted him as my foster son when he was 14 years old, and at 18, we found out he had chronic kidney failure,” said Hayes, who has two foster children and works at Pender County’s Social Services Department. “I’m a social worker and it’s very stressful. We go into homes where we are seeing people abused and neglected and that’s heartbreaking, plus, to deal with my own.”
Hayes' other foster son, 19-year-old Marshall Phillips, has stepped up to the plate to try and help alleviate some of the stress his mother is shouldering.
Exactly one month ago, Phillips found out his blood type matched Kamali and he made the decision to donate one of his kidneys to his foster brother.
“They are so close. When Marshall first came into my home three years ago, he and Kamali bonded like brothers,” said Hayes.
It’s a brotherhood about to get even stronger.
“Kamali has had a big impact on my life," Phillips said. "He may not think it, but I want to do anything to help him out. If this surgery is one of the small things I can do, I am willing to do it.”
“I told him he didn’t have to," Kamali said. "I was just gonna wait on the list, but he was passionate about it, so we worked together to make it happen.”
The foster brothers will proceed with the surgery as their home continues to be gutted by volunteers with the N.C. Baptist Men.
“We are brothers for life now," Phillips said. "This is going to be an extra special Thanksgiving. We can be here, he is still alive, and I’m going to help him out.”
The brothers will undergo the transplant surgery in early January.