Son Suddenly Dies From Illness, Gives Mother Life-Saving Kidney

Gregory Wakeman - Author

Aug. 20 2013, Updated 1:20 p.m. ET

A mother watched her son die and was then able to take his kidney in order to save her from her own debilitating condition.

This bittersweet moment occurred in Nashville, Tennessee. Zona McGee has been battling from her kidney disease for 20 years, and she has been on a transplant list for over three years too.

Her son, Ryan, fell ill earlier this year, and then last week died without warning due to his brain condition, which is known as Chiari and affects the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls muscle movement and coordination.

He died on August 11, and then the next day his mother went under the knife in order to take his kidney.

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However, there was a heartbreaking couple of hours when Zona wasn’t sure if she would be able to have her son’s kidney because doctors were unable to test Ryan to see if he was a match for his mother when he was alive because he could have inherited her disease.

Ryan registered himself as an organ donor and informed the doctors that if he did die he wanted his mother to have his kidney.

When he unexpectedly died, a test was carried out and they found out that they were in fact a perfect match.

Zona McGee told Nashville’s News 2, “At first, I said I couldn’t do it, but I know he would have been so mad at me. When I went into surgery, I knew he was with me. I was not afraid. I just felt like, ‘Okay, Ryan, you’re here with me. We’re doing this together’.”

Zona McGee informed people of her struggles with her own blog, and even discusses the horrible anguish of having to deal with her own condition and watching her son die.

She wrote in July, “I really need to be strong and healthy so I can be here for my son. I urgently need a kidney donor and now more than ever!” Family and friends have taken solace in Ryan’s death because of his generosity.


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