Single mom donates kidney to co-worker's husband

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The journey of two lives changed forever began about a year ago with one single Facebook post from a desperate wife. It read in part, "Ron needs a kidney. Life expectancy is generally five years."

Stacey Barker, a single mom of two, responded: "I am willing to get tested and I am willing to donate. I have no hesitations."

Ten months later and 24 hours after that very surgery, Ron Dustan is beyond grateful.

"For Stacey to step forward and basically save my life, what do you say to a person that does that?" he said.

Dustan was moved to tears and near silence, thinking that he will no longer have to wait and worry, no longer be on dialysis, and no longer fear the inevitable with his kidney disease. His fears were quelled all because a woman he had never met made a selfless decision.

"That's what I've always wanted to do. I always wanted to make some positive change in someone's life," Barker said.

The two are recovering on different floors at Banner Good Samaritan. They haven't seen each other since the surgery but messaged each other immediately afterward.

"She asked me how I was feeling and I said, 'Pretty good, except my heart is bursting with joy, love and gratitude,' " Dustan said.

"I responded, 'Ron, I am so happy that you are doing OK.' One thing they said was how calm I was. I was so calm because I knew i was doing the right thing," Barker said.

Barker trusted her instinct. Her body told her everything would be OK, and she was right. The man to whom she gave a generous Christmas gift is hopeful the donation inspires others.

"If you can help one person like Stacey did, it means a whole lot to a whole lot of people," Dustan said.

Barker has given forward so much and, ironically, the single mother has a Giveforward fund to help her as she recovers.


Woman donates kidney to help co-worker