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Friends reflect one year after life-saving kidney donation

LEWISTON, NY (WIVB) - Playing family games with his wife and daughters are times Jeff Carter, Lewiston, has grown to truly cherish. 

"The fact that I can come home and help my daughters with their homework and spend the whole evening with my family instead of just snippets, because I have to go do dialysis are just truly wonderful," said Jeff Carter, the recipient of two kidney donations. 

Carter was forced to make dialysis a way of life when his kidneys shut down the second time. 

"Technically, my kidneys failed back in 1990. I received a kidney transplant from my father in 1999. That lasted for about 16 years and a little over 3 years ago that kidney started to fail," Carter said. 

He prayed for a miracle - hoping for a kidney donor.

"In addition to the physical toll of the dialysis, you then have the emotional toll of always questioning, like, will this ever happen," Carter said. 

After waiting for two and a half years, it finally did happen. Carter's longtime friend, Benjamin Finkle, happened to be a perfect match. 

"Jeff's a nice guy and he'd a good friend and he needed a kidney and I had two of them so I figured I could give one up," said Finkle. 

On February 5, 2018, they both went through surgery. The kidney took right away and Carter's days of dialysis were over. One year later, Carter said he feels amazing, "this has just strengthened that relationship. I love him like a brother, he's done more for me and my family than I think he even realizes."

"It feels great. It's like, wow, I get to really do something that's going to make a meaningful impact in someone's life. It's really cool," Finkle said, who strongly encourages becoming an organ donor. 

Carter has this message for anyone who is waiting for a donation. 

"Don't give up hope. Because, when you least expect it - God will show up and give you what you need and that's exactly what happened to me."


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