Amy Pauvlinch and Bill English had never met before, but something about his Facebook post touched Pauvlinch in a profound way. She knew she needed to help.
Bill, 34, is a husband and a father and wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be able to live. After experiencing kidney failure, he was tied to a dialysis machine and could feel his happy life slipping away.
His family blitzed social media in an attempt to find a kidney donor, eventually landing on Pauvlinch’s Facebook timeline. She responded to the post– the first step in a nearly year-long journey.
285 piece lego space shuttle, with a 4 year old, with post-dialysis brain!! pic.twitter.com/Vtu18EhdcF
— Bill & Laura English (@Kidneydad1701) December 13, 2017
“I ended up reaching out to her, sending this super awkward message. ‘Hi, my name is Amy, I live in Pittsburgh. I saw online that your husband needed a kidney. I would love to give him mine,'” Pauvlinch said to KDKA.
The 28-year-old woman said she knew in her heart the English family was who she was supposed to help.
“I knew out of all the thousands of posts that was the one I was supposed to contact and have an impact on,” Pauvlinch said via Newsweek.
But those actively seeking a kidney donation learn not to get their hopes up. As difficult as it is to find someone willing to be a living donor, it’s even more difficult to find someone who is a match.
“That fact that a total stranger was a match was crazy,” Bill’s wife Laura said to KDKA.
Months of medical tests not only proved Pauvlinch was a suitable match, but also tested her commitment to the donation. The process included long drives to the hospital, and at one point she was denied clearance to be a donor.
“Got denied, transferred hospitals, retested, but never once did we lose hope,” Pauvlinch said in an emotional Facebook post. “What a blessing in disguise being denied was.”
Even after being denied, Pauvlinch and the English family refused to give up. They continued their quest at the Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, where they were finally given the green light to proceed with the donation.
The transplant took place on July 3rd and was a success. Surgery went off without a hitch, and the English family and Pauvlinch rejoiced in the satisfying conclusion to their arduous journey.
“She’s giving us my husband back, our kids their dad back.” Laura said.
Bill said he is looking forward to spending more time with family and friends– Pauvlinch included. He said the family intends to keep in touch with the woman who helped keep them together.
“I feel like she’s a sister to me. I keep in touch with her almost everyday,” Bill said to KDKA.
It’s officially time to make the huge announcement!! On July 3rd, a mere 10 days away, I will FINALLY be donating my kidney to this beautiful family!! ♻️?❤️ This journey has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Almost a year ago, the English family and I started a journey that would change our lives forever. A year ago, one glance at a Facebook post, led me to find this specific family. I knew nothing of the process and sent one awkward message to them, letting them know I’m from Pittsburgh and I’m willing to donate. With their help, we started testing. Got denied, transferred hospitals, retested, but never once did we lose hope. Thanks to a very special angel @breannasipple I was able to go through Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. What a blessing in disguise being denied was. This hospital has taken care of me and has shown me nothing but absolute kindness and support. As the count down truly begins, my heart is so full of every emotion one could think of. Being able to share this experience with this family, words can’t even begin to describe!! In one week from tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Philly for the final time. Please keep our families in your prayers!! #Getloud #kidneydonation #livingdonor #nevergiveup ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️I should also mention briefly, a huge thank you to every single person who has supported me and dealt with my relentless tears, be them at home or work! I have such a strong support group. You all are truly blessings to me! Especially my momma. She has been my backbone through all of this. Even with her own health issues, she’s dropped everything to be there for me and with me. She is an angel. ❤️
Posted by Amy Pauvlinch on Saturday, June 23, 2018