An update to a story News 25 first brought you earlier this year about a local woman who was in desperate need of a new kidney. She advertised she needed a donor on the back of her car and on benches around Biloxi.
These new friends were strangers less than a year ago. Julie Long is a Biloxi native and John Machado lives 2,000 miles away in Montana. They met for the first time almost four months ago when John, a truck driver and a father of three, donated his kidney to Julie. “Yeah, we are like family,” said Julie. “Like we have known each other all of our lives.”
Julie had been living with chronic kidney disease since 2002. She was at the point where she desperately needed a transplant to stay alive. After our story first aired and then was put on Facebook, John says he knew he had to do something to help. “(When you heard Julie’s story what inspired you to help a complete stranger?) Why not? If you can’t help your fellow man, who can you help?”
When John’s mother, Brenda, first heard that he would be undergoing a kidney transplant for a stranger, she had her reservations. “I said to him ‘honey, you need to think about this.’ I said because this is something big and he said, ‘mom, I have thought about it and I believe that God put us on this Earth to help people who need help and Julie needs it and she is going to get it from me.’”
Months later, the two families are now bonded for life, even sharing family events like cookouts together. “He is my angel on Earth. He really is my angel on Earth.”
Both Julie and John are feeling well and are back to work.