Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

A Gift of Life: Miracle Donor Gives Kidney

Rockwall resident Jesse Vaughn (right) was diagnosed with Stage 5 renal failure in his kidneys in 2014, and has been hoping for a transplant for years. City Manager of Royse City Carl Alsabrook donated his kidney to Vaughn on Oct. 6.

(ROCKWALL, TX – November 2, 2017) Now that Jesse Vaughn has a new kidney, he has another need.

“Help me thank God for Carl Alsabrook,” Vaughn said, referring to the man—city manager of Royse City and former Rockwall police officer—who donated a kidney for his Oct. 6 transplant surgery.

“He’s an incredible human being,” said Vaughn, a Rockwall resident and a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments in Royse City. “God sent an angel—Carl Alsabrook. I can’t put into words my gratitude. I will forever be indebted to him. I want everyone to help me thank Carl Alsabrook.”

Alsabrook also expressed gratitude.

“I’m extremely appreciative that I’ve had the opportunity to have a seat to see this because it has been incredible,” Alsabrook said of his donor experience.

Awaiting Hope

The journey leading to surgery was a long one for Vaughn, 48, and a short one for the 50-year-old Alsabrook.

Vaughn learned in 2007 that his kidneys were failing. A doctor reported in June of 2014 that he was in Stage 5 renal failure and that his kidneys were functioning at 19 percent. Later, his kidney function dropped more, to 6 percent and then to 5 percent. The journey even took him to China, where he received herbal treatments. He had been on dialysis the last nine months.

“I was severely depressed,” Vaughn said. “I was overwhelmed by the idea of spending four hours in that place (the dialysis center) three days a week. It was overwhelming.”

Vaughn said his plan was to remain on dialysis “until a kidney shows up.” He was on a transplant list, along with more than 100,000 others nationwide. He expected his wait to be at least three years.

“When you’re doing dialysis, you’re expecting a kidney some year down the road from someone who gets into a fatal accident,” Vaughn said. “I was going through the motions, going to dialysis, praying for healing, praying for God to heal me. I never prayed for a kidney. I just wanted to be healed. I never prayed for a donor because I thought somebody had to die. I kind of avoided that.”

The Journey to a Miracle

CDC Executive Director Larry Lott told Alsabrook about Vaughn’s medical issue in early April. Vaughn was scheduled to participate in a CDC trip to Las Vegas, but couldn’t because of his illness.

That news bothered Alsabrook, saying that he knew Vaughn was a family man with young kids.

“That’s just not good,” he said. “That’s sad.”

He continued to think about Vaughn.

“It impacted me greatly because Jesse has always been positive, upbeat, with more energy than I’ve ever had,” Alsabrook said.

The city manager said he knew he was supposed to help Vaughn and he felt peace with every thought about helping him. Help could come with a financial donation, he thought, or a campaign to enlist prospective donors. And, yes, he thought about the possibility that he would become a donor.

A few days later, he saw Vaughn walking on Royse City’s Main Street. Vaughn, he said, didn’t have that normal bounce in his step.

“That’s when it all came together in my mind,” he said. “God spoke to me and said, ‘You can help. You can fix it.’ It was shocking. It shook me up a little bit.”

There’s no question in his mind, Alsabrook said, that God spoke to him.

He talked to Lisa, his fiancé, telling her, “I think I’m going to offer something crazy.” She was supportive. They even moved their wedding date up to Aug. 5 because of the possibility of upcoming surgery.

Passing the Tests

A few days later, Vaughn and Alsabrook had an unplanned face-to-face meeting in a hallway at City Hall. Alsabrook offered a kidney. Vaughn said he was “blindsided” by Alsabrook’s offer and didn’t immediately accept the offer.

Vaughn said he told him that the transplant process was not that simple. There would be lots of testing, blood matching and tissue matching.

The first test was passed during their hallway conversation. Both have O-positive blood type.

After they passed that initial test, Alsabrook said, he was confident the transplant would occur.

Many other tests followed. The results of every test moved the transplant a step closer.

Alsabrook said there are seven rejection factors. Doctors can work with up to four, but they had zero.

A major test was Alsabrook’s kidney function. His kidney function score had to be at least 96 percent. His percentage caused the medical experts to think that mistakes had been made because Alsabrook’s kidney function went from 210 percent, to 217, to 232, to 245.

Race is also part of this miracle. Doctors had told Vaughn that a white male would be the best donor candidate. Vaughn said he was told that white men were less likely to get sick later with diabetes or blood pressure problems. Vaughn is African American, Alsabrook is white.

“I had concerns about what would happen to him health-wise because I don’t want him to get ill with one kidney,” Vaughn said. “So, I had to really learn more what his process and journey would be like.”

A Life Saved

The day after their transplant surgery, surgery Vaughn left the intensive care unit at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Alsabrook walked to his hospital room and stepped inside for a brief visit.

They attempted an embrace, Vaughn said, but the attempt was awkward and painful.

Alsabrook said their day-after-surgery visit was an emotional one.

“It wasn’t our normal greeting,” Alsabrook said. “It was great to see him up and walking Saturday.”

The surgical procedure wasn’t normal either.

Surgery for both lasted longer than expected because of the size of Alsabrook’s kidney.

“It’s been remarkable,” Alsabrook said. “They (the surgeons) had never seen anything like it. They said it was the largest kidney they had ever seen.”

A normal kidney, he said, is the size of a clenched fist. His kidney, Alsabrook said, was the size of a football.

Even though the donated kidney was larger than expected, Vaughn said, the organ immediately began “regulating my body systems.” He said there was increased stamina and improvement in “the ability to get rid of water.”

Before surgery, Vaughn’s kidney function was only five percent. Four days after surgery, his kidney function had already increased to 27 percent. Increased kidney function is expected to continue.

Alsabrook returned home Sunday, two days after surgery. There were some challenges from pain and nausea due to medication he was taking. Later in the week he was feeling better. He went out Thursday and made several stops, including visits to the city’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) office, Walmart and Sonic.

He could see some City Hall office duty next week, Alsabrook said, but he is awaiting a medical release.

Vaughn will make visits to his doctor three times a week for a period of time, but he is not allowed to venture out into public settings. He’s taking anti-rejection medications and his immune system now “has nothing to fight infection.”

He must be cautious, he said, and that includes contact with his children.

He had a major victory Wednesday when he got to walk 11-year-old daughter Nailah to the school bus stop.

Story and photo by Blue Ribbon News contributing writer Jim Hardin.

Our monthly print edition is delivered free to 19,000+ homes in Rockwall and Heath, TX.

To share your good news and events, email .

Subscribe to our email newsletter here.

Advertising: 214-342-8000 or .