A 20-year old man, Ronald White got the shock of his life after finding out that the woman who had volunteered one of her kidneys to save him died in a car crash.
White had been on dialysis for four years after he was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia, and out of the blue 23-year old Diamond Scott offered to donate one of hers to save White’s life.
Now the somewhat hopeful situation has taken a turn for the worse as Scott reportedly died in a car crash and the news sent White into a shock. He says he didn’t want to believe it until his Pastor called him.
Free Press reports:
Ronald White, 20, was in dialysis a few months ago when he got a text message from Diamond Scott, 23. She was offering her kidney.
“When she called me, I heard her voice, and I still couldn’t put a picture to her face,” White said Tuesday, the scars and bandage on his left arm clearly visible from more than four years of blood-cleansing, three-hour dialysis procedures. He has kidney dysplasia, a disorder from infancy that becomes more complicated the older he gets.
Scott, a senior at Wayne State University and fellow member of Faith Clinic Church of God in Christ on Detroit’s east side, told White she was moved by God to give, he said. The two went through the final tests last week and were determined to be a match, White said.
“It turns out, she was actually serious,” he added.
But Monday morning, White was again in dialysis when he awoke from a nap to 16 missed calls. Scott had died in a car crash.
“I went into immediate shock,” White said. “I didn’t want to believe it until I was on my way home from dialysis, my pastor called me, and that’s what he told me and … it actually hit me.”
The Rev. Zachary Hicks was at the scene of the crash on Curtis and Greenfield on Detroit’s northwest side, along with dozens of church and family members. For about four hours, the family waited for Scott’s body to be removed from her crumpled Pontiac sedan. Her mother, Kathryn Scott-Robinson, didn’t stop crying.
“She lost her baby,” Hicks said, repeating those words two more times Tuesday morning, reflecting on the tragedy from a pew in the empty church’s sanctuary. He said Scott, the youngest child with three older brothers, was the family caregiver.
Scott was killed early Monday when her car was broadsided by a silver Ford Taurus, driven by a man who police suspect ran a red light, according to Detroit police. She died about 4 a.m. in the crash at Curtis Avenue, which occurred as she traveled northbound on Greenfield Road. The passenger side of her car was severely damaged, and the man, whose name wasn’t released, remained hospitalized Tuesday, police said.
Betsy Miner-Swartz, spokeswoman with Gift of Life Michigan, said Monday that given the circumstances, salvaging Scott’s kidney wouldn’t have been an option.
“If she died at the scene, she wouldn’t have been able to help her friend out with a kidney donation,” she said.
Dr. Jason Denny, transplant surgeon with Henry Ford Hospital, said Tuesday that there’s a constant shortage of kidneys for people who need transplants.
Of the 16,000-20,000 transplants in the U.S. each year, half come from living donors. Half those donors are family members.
Donors are submitting to surgery when their bodies have no need for it, Denny said, and when the recipient is on dialysis, the procedure is especially life-saving.
“It’s a very selfless act,” he said. “Over 300 million people (live) in the U.S., and 5,000-7,000 donate their kidneys every year.”
Near the end of May, Hicks had called White and Scott to the front of the church during a service, sharing Scott’s selfless decision with the congregation.
“I thought it was such a great act of love within our church family setting that our entire congregation needed to see that, to know that,” Hicks said, adding that in 22 years with the church, he’d never seen a member of his congregation offer an organ to a nonrelative. “For her to make such a declaration and be prepared to execute it was nothing short of fantastic.”
Scott’s aunt, Adrienne Mills, 48, pointed out the pew where her niece sat, four rows back, stage-right, for years — even while attending college.
“She was just an upstanding girl,” Mills said.
Lisa Hicks, the pastor’s wife, said Scott had an unassuming personality and would be low-key until she was moved and then just step up to do what the spirit compelled her to do.
For White, Scott’s reputation preceded her. He said he’d heard other people at church talking about her compassion before she offered him her kidney. He shared a text message exchange:
“We should go out one day just to get to know each other cus we really ain’t got to know each other yet,” White texted on June 20.
Scott replied: “That’s cool. I was gonna suggest the same …”
Mills said that White was shocked beyond words Monday. On Tuesday, he met with the Free Press at the church.
“I was just happy I had a chance to thank her,” he said. The date of the surgery was to be set sometime this week, he said, hopefully for early August.
Now, White is back to waiting on the list with Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. He has needed the transplant for nearly five years, so he said he should be near the top.
White said he’s about to start at Macomb County Community College and plans to major in music, eventually getting a master’s degree in music production from a university. He plays the drums exceptionally well, fellow church members say.
Hicks said the church usually has about 450 people in the pews on Sundays. On Tuesday, the church was bustling with people as part of a program to provide meals to people in need.
Hicks said a memorial fund will be set up in Scott’s name through PNC Bank, intended to pay burial costs as well as help young people who wish to further their education.
Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash.