I found this Bible verse written on one of the countless cards sent to Alberta and Eric Ellis:
Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "He took our illnesses and bore our diseases."
Not to make Eric Ellis a prophet, but he did just that for his mother Alberta.
Eric gave his mother her life back.
He gave her the gift of a healthy kidney.
When Alberta Ellis was told by doctors in December that her kidneys had been damaged by congestive heart failure, she had not imagined how drastically her life would change in the coming year.
She had not imagined she would be tethered to a dialysis machine, having to rush back even from the grocery store to undergo dialysis four times a day – at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. She had not imagined that the same machine that kept her alive would take away her freedom.
She had not imagined she would end up with three kidneys in her body, or that one of them would be from her son Eric.
Of the Ellis' three children, Eric is always the first to help out. When he discovered that his mother was having health problems, his first thoughts were to move home and see if the two were compatible for a kidney transplant.
Although he knew the transplants are often much harder on the donor's body, Eric never wavered in his decision. "There was no stopping me," he said, grinning at his mother.
On Feb . 6 , mother and son discovered they were a match.
"I kinda had the feeling we would be," Eric said.
"We matched right from the beginning," his mother replied.
The two went into surgery on July 11. Eric had three holes cut into him for his laparoscopic surgery. Mrs. Ellis left surgery with 56 sutures and a healthy kidney.
When Eric awoke in a hospital room at MCG down the hall from his sleeping mother, he was in a lot of pain, but another sensation overpowered it .
"Emotionally, I felt real good doing it for my mom. Once it was over and I saw my mom, I felt a sense of closeness … a sense of fulfillment."
The two recovered together, which made it easier to sympathize with the weakness and aches. Mrs. Ellis' husband, Edward, cooked the two soup and became their personal nurse.
Although Mrs. Ellis must take 23 pills a day and have check-ups to make sure her body does not reject her son's kidney, she will have the freedom to garden and travel – two activities dialysis took away from her.
Eric and his mother have a bond very few people can claim.
"I know this will change my life. Now I will be able to pick up and go," Mrs. Ellis said. "I'm just glad it's behind us and we can look forward to our life and be healthy."