Local News

Marysville veteran gets ultimate gift

KidneyMARYSVILLE, Wash. — It’s the gift of life.

A 26-year-old Kansas woman is hoping to donate one of her kidneys to a Marysville veteran who is not a family member.

Frank Gibson,62, got the grim diagnosis of kidney cancer seven years ago when he was serving in Iraq. His job there was to diffuse insurgent bombs. But it’s his personal war with cancer that reminds him every day that life is fragile, Gibson said.

“There are many nights and days the pain was so bad she would hold me and whisper prayers in my ears,” said Gibson.

The cancer has since gone into remission, but so have Gibson’s kidneys. Gibson undergoes five hours of kidney dialysis three times a week just to stay alive. And because none of his family members were a direct match, Gibson had accepted his life.

That is, until Renee Roberts of Wichita, Kan., reached out to him.

The two met during bomb training in the Air Force years back. Gibson was the oldest in the class. Roberts was the youngest.

“Since I was so young and away from my family he was my father,” Roberts said.

They lost touch for a long time until last year when Roberts heard of her friend’s difficult life and offered one of her kidneys.

“I have two and I only need one,” Roberts said. “No one should die on dialysis.”

Even though the veteran initially refused her offer, Roberts went ahead on her own to see if she could become the cure. “I kind of went behind his back and did some of the testing,” she said.

As soon as she learned her kidney was compatible, Roberts said she wasn’t taking no for answer.

“She said, ‘look if you don’t take my kidney I am going to give it to a stranger,’” Gibson said. “What do you do with that?”

After a year of constant communication and built up anticipation, the mother of three flew in from Kansas Sunday. The big transplant surgery is two days away. And the hope is Gibson will soon get his life back.

“The selfless act of giving somebody your kidney is amazing,” Gibson said.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

19 Comments to “Marysville veteran gets ultimate gift”

    carol czarnik said:
    December 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Renee is an example of what we all should be. Loving, caring and giving.. What a Christmas gift you have given Frank and his family.LIFE! You are an inspiration!

    Laura Balaban said:
    December 10, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    This wonderful young women is my daughter and I couldn’t be more proud!! Not only is she committing this wonderful selfless act, but she is doing it without her husband or children by her side. It happened rather quickly and arrangements could not be made as well as the funds not being there. I know Franks family will take care of her while she spends the holiday without her family.

    Jennifer Allara said:
    December 11, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    They got one thing wrong. Those who are EOD, ARE family and I’m so proud to call Renee my sister!

    Bill said:
    December 11, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    Renee we are so proud of you for this selfless act we will have you and Frank in our prayers.
    Uncle Bill and Aunt Cheryl , Weirton Wv

    Jannah Garza said:
    December 11, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    A good cry this morning! We are all so proud of you Renee and love you! Praying for you and Frank during this journey! See you soon!

    CharleyLeChein said:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    EOD is the career field where they go out and dispose bombs, and now the IED that are causing many to be wounded or killed. A popular movie several years ago presented an example of how the EOD units work, the movie was named "The Hurt Locker", Former member of 636th Ordnance Company (EOD)

    CharleyLeChein said:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Its not hard to find the hospital they are in. The Providence @ Colby is the likely choice. Great food service there, I was there a year ago. Doubt anything has changed. If you are at Providence @ Pacific, then you may need takeout delivered. So what would you like me to try and sneak in? Just another vet
    showing support for both Mr Gibson and Ms Roberts, oh "welcome home"

    renee roberts said:
    December 11, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Thank you all so much for the support . Surgery starts at 6:15 a.m. on the 12th at UWMC.

    Dramon Hayes said:
    December 11, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    I have been blessed to come to know Frank and his family and words can not express my joy for them or my sincere thankfulness to Renee for her gift. Love you all.

    Lori P. said:
    December 11, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Send you many prayers in a quick recovery! and Renee you are a BIG inspiration…WOW how AMAZING you are and a BLESSING!

    Gram & PAP said:
    December 12, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Renee
    If it was not for you VETS we would not have the life we have.
    THANK YOU
    PAP & GRAM
    LOVE YOU

    Laura Balaban said:
    December 12, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    They’re being prepped for surgery now. Please say a prayer!! 12/12/12 is am amazing day.

    renee roberts said:
    December 12, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Waiting to go into surgery now! Send the good luck. – Renée Roberts

    Laura Balaban said:
    December 12, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Surgery is underway. We should know soon.

    Laura Balaban said:
    December 13, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    They surgery went great!!! Frank has a functioning kidney! No more dialysis for him. I believe my daughter is his Christmas Angel!!

    Shane Frith said:
    December 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    God’s grace reaches across the EOD career field as a whole! This is a very kind blessing to give another human being especially an EOD brother! This is also not the first time a kidney has been passed in the EOD family! Remember Kirk Folk, EOD captain gave his kidney to his chief’s wife, Connie and Rob Inman? Yeah, how many career fields can say that about their people? Well done Renee, well done!

    Linda Gray said:
    January 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Renee, your Grandma told me about all of this prior to your even having the surgery and kept me posted on all that was going on. You are such a beautiful young woman. Words cannot express how proud I am of you. This just does not seem like enough; saying that I am proud of you just does not cut it. I know that the Lord has been with you both through all of this. What an honor it is to know you the little that I do. Your husband also must be a wonderful man Renee. I pray that God blesses you, your husband and your children beyond all that you can imagine. God bless you Renee Roberts, God bless you ! Love, Aunt Linda and Uncle Mel

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