Organ donation leads to friendship

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Pottsville family received an early Christmas miracle that’s created an everlasting bond.

Eyewitness News told you about a young woman who was on a search to find her father a kidney donor. The family ended up gaining more than an answered plea.

“He gave my dad a second chance at life,” Taylor Mercuri said.

14 years ago, a doctor diagnosed William Horning with a kidney disease called Iga Nephropathy. Seven years later, doctors told him he’d need a kidney transplant.

“I want to thank my daughter for starting the campaign and Shawn for ending it,” Horning said.

Instead of patiently waiting, Horning’s daughter, Taylor Mercuri, used social media to spread the word. Last year, she made bumper stickers and business cards to speed up the search. After more than four years of waiting, the search was over.

“A new dialysis I started at home, it wasn’t suiting me, so as I was talking to the counselor, and I got a call for a kidney. I just smiled ear to ear. The nurses knew right away by the way I was talking on the phone,” Horning said.

Shawn Daubert is a Pottsville firefighter who knew of the family. After seeing Mercuri’s Facebook page, he decided to step up to the plate.

“When I started the entire process, I wanted to make sure it was going to Bill,” Daubert said.

Daubert kept his identity anonymous until November 6th, the day of the surgery.

“They walked in and it was a fantastic feeling. I think they were all crying,” Daubert said.

The surgery was a success. Daubert was going back to work in a few weeks. Horning says he looks forward to doing all the things he did before the kidney disease robbed him.

“I can go on vacations now and not have to do dialysis. I can go camping. It’s like my life’s back,” Horning said.

The two men have grown closer since the surgery. They walked laps together in the hospital post-surgery and continue to stay in contact. A kind gesture that saved a life and created an important new friendship.

Horning is still recovering, but he says he is looking forward to going back to work in the railroad industry.

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