Stranger donates kidney, saves the life of 16-year-old Indiana boy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After a day filled with emotion and tears, two strangers are now forever connected by one amazing gift.

“It was a room full of love and a good reminder of how easy it is to love,” said living kidney donor Jane Forbes.

Noah Mikel, 16, is meeting the woman who saved his life. When Noah was born, he was diagnosed with prune belly syndrome, an illness that would shut down his kidneys. He has spent the last eight years on the transplant list, waiting for a new kidney.

“There has been a few times where I did not think he was going to come back. For some reason he always came out of it,” said Noah’s dad, Lee Mikel.

“But we made it,” said Noah.

Noah needed a living donor and Mikel was determined to find his son a kidney. He even started a Facebook group to find his son a donor. Then, out of the blue, his prayer was answered.

“I was a non-directive donor. I did not know who my recipient would be,” said Forbes.

The kidney that saved Noah’s life belonged to Jane Forbes, a social worker for transplant patients at IU Health. Three years ago, she decided to get tested when a friend needed a transplant, another donor came through. That is when Jane decided to be a donor for someone else.

That someone turned out to be Noah.

“It was the most raw and intense emotion. It was such a gift for us to meet Noah,” said Forbes.

Now with a fully functioning kidney, Noah and his family are looking forward to his second chance at life.

“I just want him to be a normal kid again. Do whatever he wants to do, eat whatever he wants to eat,” said Mikel.

That goal is only possible because of a stranger's act of kindness.

Noah’s family says they hope more potential donors are inspired by the teen’s story and come forward to help others in need.

Learn more about organ donation in Indiana here.

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