FOLSOM, Calif. (AP) — Eric Baade knew he wanted to one day become a kidney donor.
Ever since his wife, Stacy Baade, received a kidney donation in 2008, Baade had wanted to give that gift to another family. It was just a question of who he would donate to.
In January, the sergeant with the police department in Folsom, California, came across a Facebook post by a fellow law enforcement officer’s wife. It explained Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy Nate Wise’s need for a kidney transplant. Baade responded within 24 hours. The two underwent surgery June 27.
“I just knew that he and his family were going to be in for a pretty rough patch through the whole dialysis process, much like our family was,” Baade said. “And I knew that when he received a kidney, he and his family would get their lives back.”
Before joining the Folsom Police Department, Baade had also worked in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. His wife’s donor was the wife of a fellow sheriff’s department employee.
The two officers said they had never met prior to the Facebook connection, despite growing up near one another and knowing similar groups of people.
Now, Wise said, they’ll always be brothers.
“It’s just amazing how the law enforcement community is, especially in a time of need,” Wise said. “We’ve always been a tight community, but when things like this happen, it reiterates how much of a family we are.”
From the time her husband raised the possibility of donating, Stacey Baade said she knew it was a given that he would donate if he could.
For her, being on the other side of the process was an emotional experience. In addition to worrying while her husband was in surgery, waiting for the doctors to come out, she also knew exactly what Wise was going through in his dialysis treatment.
Seeing the two of them after the transplant made it obvious how important the donation was, she said.
“Seeing Nate come out of surgery, you could tell how much better he was feeling, how much it had helped,” she said. “You could see all of the pain Eric was going through was worth it.”
Wise had been on dialysis treatment for months prior to the surgery, experiencing nausea, fatigue and weight loss side effects.
Since the surgery, his health has been like “night and day” he said. He calls himself the luckiest guy in the world.
“I can’t describe how amazing it is. Eric coming forward, it’s just astonishing. It’s crazy,” he said. “He saved my life.”
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