When Mack Simmons was just 17, he decided to donate a kidney to his critically-ill sister, Tanita. A few years later, Tanita passed away, and Mack paid the price for his selfless deed.
Punished for his kind deed
Mack developed kidney failure in his remaining kidney and was in excruciating pain.
“It was to the point where sometimes I would go to work and I would just have to stop whatever I was doing because I was just in so much pain,” he told Good Morning America.
Eventually, Mack couldn’t handle the pain and left his job. Without the ability to make money, he faced homelessness- but he didn’t face it alone. His son, John, told his dad that he would be with him through this tough time.
He said, ‘Dad, if you’re gonna be homeless I’m gonna be homeless right along with you.’ I said, ‘Man, I raised you right.’
Mack Simmons to GMA
ICU doctors to the rescue
The father and son duo moved from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived in their car- but not for long. Mack suffered an aortic blockage that sent him to UPMC McKeesport Hospital. A team of doctors there had to operate immediately.
Carol Madia, a member of Mack’s care team at UPMC McKeesport, told the patient that not only would they fix the blockage, they’d also help him get back on his feet in more ways than one.
“After his big surgery we found out through the social workers in the ICU that he was facing a possible homeless situation, and his living situation wasn’t very good,” Madia told GMA. “He would need dialysis and he would need physical therapy and other medical care, and we wanted to make sure that he was able to get that and be discharged safely.”
Back on his feet
Touched by Mack’s “genuine kindness” while treating him in hospital, the team of doctors arranged to get him and his son temporary housing and eventually a permanent place to call their own.
“Last year I would have never thought that this would happen,” John told GMA. “Living in my new home! This has been amazing, I’m not gonna lie.”
But no one was more grateful than Mack.
Being able to walk again, because I wasn’t able to walk this time last year, it’s truly a blessing.
A deserving second chance
Front-line medical staff are truly heroic. Not only have they protected us during a deadly pandemic, but they helped Mack- a man who fell through the cracks after being extremely generous to his ill sister.
This story shows not only the kindness of medical professionals and those who choose to donate kidneys, but that second chances can come when you least expect it.
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Kindness Begets kindness
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams
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