He Donated His Kidney To A Fellow Vietnam Vet He Hadn't Seen In 50 Years

"I don’t know what the odds were, but we beat them."

Vietnam veterans Doug Coffman, 70, and Jim McGee, 69, were reunited a few months ago at the memorial service of a fellow soldier. It marked the first time the pair had seen each other since 1971. The bittersweet moment was heightened by the fact that Coffman learned McGee was in need of a kidney donation.


Despite not seeing each other for almost 50 years, Coffman offered to donate his kidney to his comrade.

And it turned out they were a match for blood and tissue type.

"It just is living proof that we're all part of one human family," Coffman said of the match to FOX5 in Washington D.C.. "The chances of our match — I don't know what the odds were, but we beat them."

The pair recently underwent the kidney donation operation at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, according to FOX News.

The surgery will hopefully mark the end of a difficult time for McGee. The retired foreign service officer and the former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe and Madagascar had been undergoing dialysis three times a week while awaiting a kidney donation. He told FOX5 that it would have taken three to five years to get a kidney if Coffman hadn't offered to donate.

With his new kidney, McGee says he is able to continue doing things he is passionate about. One of the key things is making sure people are aware about the need for organ donors. "One of the things that I'm most passionate about right now is making certain that everyone understands that there's a national crisis — 100,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants, another 15,000 for liver transplants."

He says it's people such as Coffman who step up, and offer to donate, that can be the change.

The U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation reports that 20 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. And every 10 minutes another person is added to an organ donation waiting list.

Furthermore, it's reported that 95 percent of American adults support organ donation but only 54 percent are actually signed up to be donors. When just one person signs up, they have the potential to save up to eight lives with their organs.


Cover image via KieferPix / Shutterstock


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