Generous online friend gives kidney to save man's life

Generous online friend gives kidney to save man's life

WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Ron Flores wasn't advertising for a kidney on Craigslist, but at one of his very sickest moments, he put out an ad that brought him a kidney from a stranger.

He was in kidney failure, blind and could barely walk. He posted an ad under the friends "strictly platonic" section of Craigslist, looking for someone to spend time with to help him through the dark days.

The person who answered was willing to help far more than could be imagined. When it came up in conversation that Flores was in kidney failure the man, Gary Avery, a groundskeeper at St. John’s Cemetery, volunteered to give up one of his. It turned out Avery had always wanted to be a kidney donor.

"I figure I owe God so much because he'd been so fantastic in my life," Avery said.

Twenty years ago, he saw a news story about a teacher who gave a kidney so her student could live. "So you hear stories like that and it’s something you want to do," he said.

The two men met for the first time right before the surgery. The transplant saved Flores’ life, and the two men are now very close friends.

"You look back and say, you know, when you start to doubt your faith, you look at it and say Gary was a gift," Flores said. "He wants to do whatever he can to help people. It makes him a very special man."

Flores said that not only is he alive, but he feels much better and has regained some vision in one of his eyes.

Avery said he's ready to give again – a part of his liver to someone like Flores who needs more than just friendship to survive.

Flores said it's common for transplant patients to name their donated kidneys. So they called his Fred and the one still in Avery is called Barney.