• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Random chat leads to a second chance at life

August 27, 2017

Sharing Mayo Clinic patients visiting in hospital roomWhen John Branson struck up a conversation with Edgar Roberts, the two had no way of knowing their chance meeting would motivate John to become Edgar's kidney donor. But that's exactly what happened. Today, Edgar is enjoying renewed health, thanks to John's generosity.

John Branson has saved many a life during his 28 years as a police officer in Anderson, Indiana. And while the lieutenant has performed CPR on several people and stopped a man from jumping off a bridge, he had no idea that a casual conversation while on vacation would become a life-saving encounter.

On April 21, 2016, John was vacationing in Georgia and stopped in a restaurant for dinner. His son was about to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, so when John saw an older gentleman wearing a Marine Corps cap, he decided to say hello.

That man was Edgar Roberts, a Vietnam veteran turned pastor from Valdosta, Georgia. The two men talked about Edgar's service in Vietnam. Then the conversation turned to his health. Edgar had lost both kidneys to diabetes, and he had been on dialysis for six years. He'd been waiting for a kidney transplant for two years.

"We got to sharing, and I told him about my many years on dialysis," Edgar says. "He asked me what my blood type was. It turned out we had the same blood type,"

John picked up the breakfast bill, and Edgar recalls, "After he paid, he told me 'I'll give you my kidney.' I was shocked, hoping this was real." Read the rest of the story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.