CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - FOX 46 Charlotte is getting results for U.S. Army veteran Edmund Baines who needs a lifesaving kidney. After months of testing potential donors, he finally met Annette Clark, a California woman who was so touched by his story she offered him the gift of life.
It was a family reunion of sorts for the two strangers. This was the first time Edmund and Annette had ever met in person, but that’s not where the story begins.
"I'm just trying to get the word out there that I need a kidney. I've been on dialysis for two years and I need a kidney and the hospital that I was attending told me to just put it on the side of my car, to just advertise it,” said Edmund Baines.
FOX 46 introduced Edmund Baines in February.
"Well it doesn't feel good but you make the best of it. You don't let it get you down because you just look at it from day to day, that one day it's going to be your day,” Edmund said in an earlier interview with FOX 46.
He’d been driving around for weeks with this sign on his truck hoping someone would call, but the phone didn’t ring until we got results.
“It’s been a long journey for me, you know. It’s been a long journey. In February, the news picked this story up and then you called me to tell me that you were my match and that you were willing to do what you could to help me,” Edmund said to Annette.
Annette was at her California home when she saw our story about Edmund needing a kidney and she immediately reached out. They later discovered she was a perfect match. The two have talked nearly every day for six months – now, words seem hard to find.
Since February, dozens of donors were tested including Chris Duschel, a fellow veteran.
“I'm going to have to make some changes in everyday life in everyday life and I just feel like it's worth it, this man is still young, he deserves an opportunity to live as long as possible,” said Chris.
But Chris, like so many others, was told he couldn’t donate. FOX 46 was determined to get results.
“I really thank God for channel 46 because channel 46 has adopted me. They’ve done everything for me from the time when they took on my story, they never left my side. They have done anything and everything they could for me within reason,” Edmund said.
Annette was set to fly in from California to Wake Forest for a final round of testing, but it was expensive. That’s when FOX 46 stepped in once again .
“I was thrilled when Jenyne from FOX 46 called and said that American Airlines and the Gary Sinise Foundation were working together to provide transportation – air transportation, our hotel, and a rental car,’ Annette said.
It was a long journey with a message even bigger than the distance between them.
“Maybe we can teach the world a thing or two,” said Annette.
“I tell you what, whether we teach the world or not, we know what we’ve got and I love you for it,” Edmund said to her.
“I love you too Edmund.”
Here’s where our story takes an unexpected turn. Annette went in for some tests when she arrived in North Carolina. She learned her kidney filtration rate was too low, meaning she was no longer able to donate her kidney to Edmund.
“All you did for me don’t feel bad, I’m serious,” Edmund told her.
“I don’t feel like I did anything for you really. What counted? It didn’t work out,” Annette said through tears.
“I continue to fight for what I need, but most of all, what you’ve done for me and as hard as you fought for me, I love you for it. I’m still your brother," Edmund said.
A friendship forged in the most unlikely circumstance, building an unbreakable bond. Annette, no longer a donor, takes on the new role of cheerleader, hoping in the end we will all still be able to get results for Edmund.
“I would do anything to give him my kidney but since I can’t I will encourage others, I’ll encourage others to sign up and go through the process of becoming a living kidney donor," Annette said.
Edmund will continue spending hours on dialysis three times a week until another kidney becomes available. Annette says when that happens she will be right by his side.
If you want to help get results for Edmund, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook or Twitter. You can also reach out to Edmund directly at (980) 505-9130.