FERRIER FILES: Woman goes to baby shower for family she doesn't know, gifts kidney
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WZTV) —
A woman goes to a baby shower for a family that she doesn’t even know – but even so, the gift she gave them ended up saving a life.
The Down Syndrome community in the mid-south acts quickly if they find out a new baby is about to be born.
They’re gifting 500 “congrats,” gift cards, meals at home, a baby shower -- and in this remarkable story: a kidney.
Vong and Linda Khounthy just moved to Murfreesboro from Boston.
It has been quite an experience. Vong was slowly dying from kidney failure and they didn't know their baby had Down Syndrome until the day Lilly was born.
“My heart was just crushed, first I’m dealing with my health and then I’m worried what is our future going to be like,” Vong said.
What they didn't know was that Lilly's Down Syndrome would be a huge blessing. Everything began to change when the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee threw the couple a baby shower.
Michelle Choate introduced herself at the baby shower. Her daughter Joy has Down Syndrome and Michelle always reaches out to new mom's.
“We weren't even going to go, I was just nervous and scared and here this beautiful stranger walks over to me,” Linda said.
The two hit it off. When Michelle found out Vong needed a kidney, she started thinking about a living kidney donation.
“It’s something our family has been doing in different ways for a long time,” Michelle said. “I just thought to myself if I were in those shoes. I would want someone to save my husband. Save me, if they had the power so how can I not help them?”
Not that it was easy. The Choate’s just moved here from Hawaii last year. Some friends and family said don't do it, it’s too rash and too risky.
Michelle did it anyway. And she was nervous about it.
“I woke up from that table and I was so thankful to be alive to give the kidney away and so thankful and be back with my husband kids and see them grow old like I wanted to,” Michelle said.
“When babies are born we say two things. First congratulations and second welcome to the family..a lot of parents who are getting that diagnosis and are afraid of the future. Or they just had their baby and are terrified. We say...You are going to love this life...It’s a little hard to swallow...
Vong and Linda are now believers. They love their baby. They love their new life and their new friends.
“I told her I can't find the right words, she inspires me so much, she gave us back life, she gave us back hope,” Linda said.
When Vong woke up from his surgery, he couldn't stop crying.
He kept saying. ‘I’m going to work so hard for you, I'm going to work so hard for you,’
This man knows exactly what to do with his new gift.