October 17, 2023 by Cathy Stack
People who work as paramedics save lives every day as part of their jobs, but a small fraction of them impact the lives of one family the way Kristi Hadfield has for Molly Jones and her father.
Molly has a condition known as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), and she had lived a healthy life with the disease until recently when her condition deteriorated. Her doctors informed her that she would need a kidney transplant.
Worried how it would impact her 15-year-old daughter if the worst happened, a desperate Molly turned to social media in search of a donor.
Kristi replied to her post, saying, “How do I figure out if I am a match?”
The two had become Facebook friends six years prior when Kristi – then working as a paramedic – saved the life of Molly’s father, John. He had felt ill and stopped by the nearest EMT station where Kristi checked his vitals, ran an EKG and instinctively knew John needed to be hospitalized immediately. On the ambulance ride to the hospital, located 45 minutes away, John went into cardiac arrest. Kristi performed chest compressions and restarted John’s heart.
“When he went into cardiac arrest, I remember being in the back of the ambulance and I was like, ‘Not today, John, not today,’” Kristi recalled.
Kristi had later reached out to John on Facebook to check on his condition. John’s daughter, Molly, then sent Kristi a friend request to personally thank her for saving her father’s life. The two have remained in contact online ever since. Little did Molly know that friend request would later save her own life.
When Kristi saw Molly’s social post for help, she felt compelled to help the family once again.
“This family has just, gosh, they got a piece of my heart,” Kristi explained. “My kids are grown, and I have grandkids now, but I wanted [Molly] to be able to see her daughter grow. I wanted her to be able to hold her grandkids.”
Molly recalled that Kristi surprised her with a call and said, “‘Hey, I've got your kidney here.’”
As soon as Molly was added to the transplant list, Kristi went to work on the process of applying to donate a kidney. Doctors kept Molly on kidney dialysis until matched with a donor. Kristi underwent vigorous testing for the long process.
During that time, Molly began to lose hope.
“Listen, kid. I saved your dad, and I’m going to save you too,” Kristi said to Molly to uplift her.
Four months later, doctors determined that Kristi would make a viable donor match for Molly. The transplant proceeded with success.
“It was amazing. I felt like I was alive again,” Molly said. “The difference is just unbelievable. Kristi gave me back my life. I'm eternally grateful.”
She said the two are now family, connected forever.
The Foundation for a Better Life and PassitOn believe that Kristi is a hero. Kristi gave a father and daughter the most precious gift of all: the gift of life. Her caring action is a perfect example of the value of selflessness. Help us celebrate her by sharing this inspiring story.
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