PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Kamali Hayes feels like a new person. That’s because he has a new kidney, thanks to his foster brother Marshall Phillips.
Last Thursday, April 11, Phillips, 19, donated one of his kidneys to his foster brother, Hayes, 23. The two underwent surgeries lasting more than eight hours at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C.
“It was hard, but we pushed through and now I feel so much better,” Hayes says.
Hayes was adopted by Sheila Hayes, a Pender County Department of Social Services worker, when he was 15. At 18, he went into kidney failure. Doctors said he would need a kidney transplant.
Three years ago, Hayes received his answer to a prayer. He and his mom welcomed Phillips into their home through a foster care program. Hayes and Phillips, while not related by blood, would soon have an even stronger bond.
In October, Phillips found out his blood type matched Hayes’ and made the decision to donate one of his kidneys to his foster brother.
Phillips admitted he was nervous about the surgery, but never thought about backing out.
“Through pain comes a second chance at life,” Phillips says.
The brothers will have to travel twice a week from Pender County back to Greenville for checkups. Their expenses will be covered by a grant through the Willie Stargell Foundation, an organization that helps local people living with kidney disease.
Their mother says it has all been a blessing.
“I’ve seen the almighty hands of God working though my sons’ surgery,” says Sheila Hayes.