Most women marry into a new family; Kimberley Adcock got an addition to her family when she gave up a kidney.
Adcock, raised in Katy, gained her new family when she donated one of her kidneys to Meredith Kelly of San Antonio.
“I knew (Kelly’s parents) before,” Adcock said. “Now it’s like I’m a daughter.”
Adcock, a 26-year-old accountant living in Houston, proved a match after more than 40 other people were rejected as donors for Kelly, a 31-year-old mother of two and wife of an Air Force captain.
Before the two women shared vital organs, the only thing they had in common was family traditions in the Girl Scouts. Kelly’s grandmother was a Girl Scout leader, and her mother was a scout before Kelly. Adcock’s family history in the Girl Scouts is nearly identical, with the mother serving as troop leader to her daughter for the past two generations.
Adcock said it was the influence of her parents, her faith and the values instilled in her through scouting that led her to make the decision to offer part of herself to a stranger.
“My parents always raised me to help others in need, and my faith in God continually showed me that being on this earth is not about serving ourselves, but serving others,” Adcock said. “Being a Girl Scout since I was a Daisy, it’s those same principles that we say every time in the Girl Scout Promise and Law about helping people at all times, and making the world a better place.”
Although Adcock and Kelly never spoke before Adcock was approved for the procedure, growing up they were just a hair’s breadth from meeting. As girls they both attended the same church, Memorial Church of Christ, but being five years apart, they were always in separate youth groups.
It was at that same church, which Kelly’s parents still attend, that Adcock first heard of Kelly’s life-threatening circumstances.
Kelly suffered from Type 1 diabetes for most of her life and toward the end of 2010 it looked she would have to go through dialysis treatments to stay alive.
Through church and social media Adcock was aware of Kelly’s worsening condition, and by November decided that she couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer.
“After hearing how difficult it was for Meredith to find a match and that she was growing very close to being on dialysis, I decided I was no longer putting this off,” Adcock said. “I knew it would be very difficult for me to live with the regret of knowing I could have done something and didn’t try.”
It was at that point that Adcock volunteered to have herself tested to see if she was a match. When the Transplant Center at Memorial Hermann called back to tell her she matched, it was just the beginning of a month-long battery of further tests to determine her fitness for the operation.
At the conclusion of the testing, Adcock knew she was meant to go through with the transplant.
“Once I learned that I was the only one out of 40-something people that had been tested to make it all the way through, I knew this was how God wanted to use me to do something significant,” Adcock said.
Then the two had to wait for the right opportunity for Kelly’s life-saving surgery. Kelly was to go through a double transplant to replace her damaged kidneys and at the same time she would receive a new pancreas.
On Jan. 18 a pancreas became available, and Adcock and Kelly went under the knife.
“It still is hard to fathom how we have the technology and capability for Meredith to go into surgery with a disease like diabetes, and then to wake up without it,” Adcock said.
While recovery was far from painless for either woman, Adcock is happy that the operation will not leave her with any limitations on the type of life she wants to live.
Donating her kidney was a tumultuous experience for Adcock, but looking back on her decision, Adcock said she would do it all over again.
“When I think of helping add 20-25 years to her life, it is just amazing to know that I was blessed to be a part of such an incredible experience,” Adcock said.