SEARCY, Ark. – Sometimes a coworker can feel more like family. It is that way for two UPS employees in Searcy who are now inseparable because one gave a piece of himself to save the other’s life.
Roy Lang and Chad Wells have worked together for over 30 years. Looking at them Friday, you’d have no idea they just had surgery a week before.
Concerning handling things with care, Lang and Wells have been on the job since 1992. But when it came to Chad delivering the news he had end-stage renal kidney failure, he could not.
Eventually, the color of Wells’s skin began to change as his body couldn’t filter toxins.
“I wasn’t looking healthy,” Wells admitted.
“He made it his own burden for a couple of months,” Lang said. “We could tell that he wasn’t the same.”
When word got out, four or five United Problem Solvers all got bloodwork done, including Roy, who turned out to be the perfect match. He thought he was the backup plan until he learned the advantages of being a living donor.
Roy prayed if it was the right decision for him to make, and the next day had no doubt about what he was supposed to do.
“The life expectancy of the organ is like double, like more than double. I said we need to go ahead and use mine now. That way you won’t have no more trouble, and somebody else can have the one they would have used for him,” Lang explained.
“Roy reached out to me on the route and told me he was willing to do whatever it took to get me healthy again,” Wells said. “To give life, I don’t know, it’s just more than I can expect out of somebody to do. It’s just more than just a friendship.”
Following months of anticipation, they both went to the hospital on Friday, April 14 and were out by Sunday, April 17.
April is National Donate Life Month. According to Organdonor.gov, every 10 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list. 104,234 men, women, and children are on the list with almost 90,000 currently in need of kidneys.
Roy said donating one of his two kidneys will not have an effect on his long-term health or habits apart from cutting back on sodium. They both have a little soreness, but Chad said he feels 10 years younger already.
Over 25,000 people donated kidneys last year, and after this experience, Wells says he wants to spread awareness to help more.
“It’s just time to give back to the community myself and do my part because I’ve been given the chance at life again,” Wells said.
After six weeks, they’ll be back on the job. After decades of working together, it is almost as if they are a package deal, making deliveries together and enjoying time off the job for years to come.
“We’ve become brothers up here, and this has made us that much closer,” Wells said. “I mean we’ll be together for the rest of my life.”
You can help both men pay their out-of-pocket medical bills by clicking here.