Virginia community forms donation chain to give life to others

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — It started back on October 23, 2015, when Colonial Heights, Virginia lost Roger Green.

Green passed away after a battle with cancer. He was the president of the Chamber of Commerce, a beloved former Middle School Principal and a good friend of Tracey and Rick Ridpath’s.

After Tracey lost her friend, she realized there was something she could do to help someone else.

“There are lot’s of other people that need kidneys, and it just said call the hospital nearby that does transplants and that’s what I did.”

Tracey decided to become a living kidney donor. She underwent hours of surgery to donate to someone she had never met.. That’s where Djuna Paige comes in.

“I have Lupus, and so Lupus had attacked my kidneys and caused them to fail,” Paige said.

Paige had been waiting for months for a transplant when doctors told her the good news.

“They said it was a good Samaritan had decided to donate her kidney.”

In return, Paige’s husband, JP, who had tried to donate to his wife but was not a match, decided to pay it forward and also become a living donor. His recipient would be Teshawn Woolridge, who had been waiting for a donor for five years.

“At first I didnt know what to think because I was already called about five times prior for deceased donors, but of course all of those didn’t work out,” Woolridge said. “But once she called me back and scheduled the surgery, that’s when I knew it was guaranteed, so I was pretty excited.”

Recently, all these donors and recipients gathered back at VCU Medical Center for the first time together since their surgeries. It was a chance to celebrate Tracy’s kidney inside of Djuana and JP’s kidney inside of Teshawn — all working and healthy.

“It feels weird, not like were sisters but it’s definitely, there’s a real connection.”

This group is now teaming up to show others that what happens inside of the operating room can save lives. It’s important to note that April is Give Life month, which encourages people to donate.

With newer technology now available, the recovery process have become much, much shorter.

Some of that new technology includes a robot that performs surgeries. Tonight on 8News at 5, 8News reporter Parker Slaybaugh takes you inside the operating room to show you the robot performing an actual operation.

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