MONTVALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A woman suffering from an incurable kidney disease had her prayers for a transplant answered by a fellow member of her New Jersey church.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday night, Jennifer Phillips would have died without a transplant. But none of her family members were suitable donors, so she was placed on a kidney transplant list.
“I was told it would be three to five years for a wait,” Phillips said. “And with my blood type it was five to seven years. So of course, by that time I could die.”
Then, like a miracle, Dot Elwood stepped in to be a donor. Elwood had heard about Phillips’ ordeal at her church.
Phillips and Elwood had been members of Montvale Evangelical Free Church for more than a decade, never having exchanged more than a passing hello. They never had a single conversation, until Elwood approached Phillips about becoming a potential kidney donor.
At that point, they exchanged messages on Facebook.
“I said to her, ‘I’m thinking about becoming, you know, going about the process to find out if I could be your donor,’” Elwood said. “She said, ‘What? You don’t even know me!’”
Elwood went through a barrage of tests.
“She called me and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this — you’re a match,’ and I said, ‘Of course I’m a match,’” Elwood said, “because I was just so convinced that God was leading me to do this.”
“When Dot came forward and she was a match. I don’t think we were completely surprised because we prayed about it, and we just knew God was in it,” Phillips said.
Last week, the newfound friends successfully underwent the transplant surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center, and on Tuesday, they were on the road to recovery.
“So abundantly blessed by Dot and her willingness,” Phillips said. “She’s just like been like a willing vessel, and she met my need, and we’re forever linked.”
Phillips and Elwood both called themselves a living testament to the power of faith.
Phillips’ disease is hereditary. One of her daughter suffers from the same incurable disease.
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