FaceBook and the Gift of Life.

Editor’s Note: FaceBook is about sharing…. ideas, events, pictures, even a little verbal support when you need it. But when a big-hearted New England mayor saw an opportunity to help her FaceBook friend, it became an entirely different kind of sharing.  Mayor Almon would have to share her  gift at a hospital.

April Capone Almon, mayor of East Haven, Ct., seems to be a woman who truly dedicates herself to her constituents, and, indeed, to her Facebook friends. And when I say “herself,” I really mean “her self.”

April Capone Almon

Almon has more than 1,600 Facebook friends, but as she waded through her friends’ status updates, she discovered that one of them needed something quite urgently: a kidney.

According to the Associated Press, Mayor Almon didn’t know Carlos Sanchez well. She hadn’t been aware that he was ill, nor that his diabetes had caused the need for a new kidney.

So, in this new world of everything being public, you might imagine that Mayor Almon, seeing a few votes wafting in the wind, put a message on Sanchez’s wall. Ah, no.

“I sent him a private message and just said, ‘Hey, I’ll try. I’ll get tested,’” she told the AP. “I really felt from the very beginning that I was going to be a match and a donor. I don’t know why, but I just knew it.”

44-year-old Sanchez only confessed to his urgent need on Facebook because his doctor suggested the social network might be a reasonable hope, and when he received Almon’s private note, he wasn’t exactly convinced it was real. After all, elections were due shortly.

Still, Almon went through with the testing and her hunch turned out to be correct. On April 8, doctors removed Almon’s kidney and gave it to Sanchez. Both are reportedly doing just fine.

“I don’t want people to see this as something larger than life,” Almon told the AP. “There’s nothing special about me. Anybody can try to do this, and if it’s meant to be, you’ll be a match and a donor and you can really help someone.”

Almon reportedly didn’t use her actions to try to win the election. She didn’t create publicity for herself at a time when some might imagine she would have enjoyed it. And she won the election anyway.

Facebook is an excellent place for people to meet, communicate, and even create new bonds. And this is a truly rare, beautiful and human story in which social networking played a vital part. However, there’s also something quite heartening that, at least for these two human beings, they made a choice on what information should be made public and what should stay private. That choice is something we should surely all enjoy and respect. That includes Facebook.

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3 Responses to “FaceBook and the Gift of Life.”

  1. Lydia Rojas says:

    This is truly AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing… I had NEVER even given Organ & Tissue Donation a 2nd thought until, 10/11/06… Because, on this date, our daughter, Stephanie suffered a severe ASTHMA ATTACK while @ school, & after her death, we were approached & asked, “Will you give your consent to DONATE your daughter’s Organs?” I couldn’t believe I was being asked, this question after receiving the WORST news a Parent could possibly EVER get!! But, in the end we said, “YES” to Organ & Tissue Donation & on that same day our daughter, Stephanie became a DONOR & My HERO @ the age of 15. Since then, my Husband & I have also become Registered Donors. I do this in HONOR & Loving Memory of our daughter, Stephanie Yasmeen Rojas 12/16/90~ 10/11/06 ~FOREVER 15~

  2. Malou Santos says:

    This story is larger than life. It appeared like fiction to me at first. I am moved beyond words. Her generosity & purity of heart is simply extraordinary. I salute you Mayor April Capone Almon. You are a modern day hero.

  3. Mary Phillips says:

    wow! what greater love can man show but to give up life for a friend… in this case share life with a friend.

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