As some of you may know my brother has spent the last few months going through difficult times with his kidney. Seldom do we have stories in our own lives that are truly spectacular and trustworthy—stories that relate the hope of humanity. Recently, I witnessed a testament of this “goodness” in my small community.
My brother, Doug Floyd, who is now 42 was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 18 years old. He went for a routine physical at a summer employer. Because of high blood pressure he was immediately hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery to extract the diseased kidney. Although the diseased kidney desperately needed to undergo a biopsy (to reveal any information about his remaining kidney), it was not meant to be. Through the improper preparation and packaging of the kidney, the kidney never made it to the laboratory. My non-litigious parents refused to sue—they didn’t know at the time that the other son would be a lawyer.
Doug aspired, on the other hand, to go into the ministry and help people for little or no compensation. After first rising through the ranks of “big” church, Doug’s flare for innovation drew him to smaller venues—much smaller. He focused his graduate work on developing meaningful communities. After finishing his master’s degree he began a house church where only a few families attend.
Over the years, Doug’s diseased kidney continued to decline in function. In the spring of 2006, his doctor said that his kidney could no longer provide sustenance, and he began dialysis. He was given the option to conduct dialysis from home, so an army of volunteers were assembled to convert his basement into a home dialysis clinic.
Then one brave young man from our small church community committed to donate his own kidney to his lifelong friend, mentor, and pastor. Izaak Standridge, 21, a rising junior at Maryville College took a different course than most College students his age. Rather than work internships, travel, or kick back, Izaak sacrificed his own kidney and summer for the benefit of Doug.
The two met many years ago at a local growing church where Doug was the youth pastor. The Standridge family (eight is enough: six children and two parents) moved to Florida for a few years, and Doug perused his graduate work in Virginia. Eventually Doug moved back to Knoxville, and a few years later the Standridges also returned. At this time, Izaak was a teenager, and Doug and Izaak began a meaningful mentoring relationship. When Doug started his house church, the Standridge family was founding members.
When asked why he would be willing to undergo such a major undertaking for his pastor Izaak said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Doug.” Izaak attributes much of his success in college to the relationship with Doug. Upon entering, he wrote an essay about Doug in which he was awarded $10,000 per year. Certainly his parents have taught him lessons that you cannot learn in school.
While finding a donor is sometimes difficult with so many criteria to match, the match between Doug and Izaak is said to be as good as a family member. On June 14, 2006 Doug and Izaak are scheduled to undergo the transplant procedure. The two will likely spend the remainder of their summers recovering. Living with Doug my whole life, I know that this is truly a blessing and opportunity to live a more normal life. Knowing Izaak for many years, I am proud to know someone of such strong character and conviction. My hat is off to you.
I will post occassional updates on the status of their surgery and recovery.