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Local Man Donates Kidney to Lifelong Friend
By Sarah Evans
​April 10, 2015

Bubba McCants, 40, a local real estate agent, donated his kidney March 18th to his friend, Charlie Powell, 42. The pair have been friends for 35 years. 

Powell was born with one kidney that functioned between 10 and 20 percent. A year and a half ago, doctors told Powell, who is married with three children, he needed to begin searching for a donor. He was placed on the donor registry, joining more than 100,000-120,000 people on any given day who wait about 3-5 years for a kidney that will not function as well as one from a live donor. After speaking with his family, Powell created a Facebook page titled “A Kidney for Charlie Powell” to find a live donor. Powell invited many people to the page including McCants. 

“I picked up the phone and called him to see what was going on, and he told me so I went to the first appointment to get my blood drawn,” said McCants. “That was the first step.” 

When he learned he was a match, McCants, who is unmarried, let his family know and began to undergo rigorous testing and meet with numerous doctors at Tulane Medical Center, in New Orleans, over the course of five months. 

“I let my family and my church, Northstar, know so they could start praying” said McCants. 

Doctors confirmed he was able to live with one kidney and donate the other, which McCants relayed to Powell. 

“He called and said, 'how does March 18th sound to get a kidney?'” recalled Powell. “It was overwhelming. It's basically a gift of life”

The day of the surgery, both men met in New Orleans for the procedure. Before the surgery, Powell thought of his friend. 

“Most of all, I was thinking about him and his process. I didn't really think about myself that much.”

McCants reflected on the last five months.

“The journey, it was a lot of waiting, reflecting and hoping that my will was God's will,” he said, adding, “I haven't been nervous at all. In my mind, it was what God wanted to happen, and it was meant to be.”

Both Powell and McCants had successful surgeries and are now recovering, which should take between 6-8 weeks. Powell's body accepted the kidney, and he says he feels much healthier now. 

“I've always had a positive outlook, but now I have nothing to worry about.” According to Powell, “God had a hand in it. People were praying for us from around the country, so the power of prayer definitely helped.”

McCants hopes to inspire others to learn about organ donation. 

“I would like people to know it doesn't have to be someone you know to donate an organ to. Get involved in the process. It's someone else's family member on that waiting list. You have the opportunity to give them a second chance.”

Not everyone is as lucky as Charlie Powell. As of January 15 of this year, 124,000 men, women and children in this country were waiting for transplants. Many will die waiting. 
Kaytlin Pugh and Friends
Goodbye and Thank You Asst Chief Dennis Kiah
Volume 5, Issue 22             October 24 - November 7, 2014
Charlie Powell Gets a Kidney From Bubba McCants
By Donna Vavala
April 10, 2105

Dennis Kiah has worked in law enforcement in Bay County since 1976, including four stints with the Lynn Haven Police Department. He reluctantly retired last month as Lynn Haven’s Assistant Chief of Police due to failing health. The department honored him with a party March 15.

During his law enforcement career, Kiah worked for the Springfield Police Department for one year, The Panama City Police Department for two years, the Sheriff’s Office for nine years and the Lynn Haven Police Department for 25 years, the last 16 years as assistant chief. His last day was March 31.

“He kept trying to go to work, but couldn’t make it anymore,” said Renee Kiah, Dennis’ wife of 12 years. “He was not able to do his job because of his inability to speak.”

A year ago, Kiah was diagnosed with mouth cancer and had several tumors removed that left his mouth paralyzed. He has undergone months of chemo therapy and radiation, yet the disease seems unfazed. Renee said her husband is now on a feeding tube and has become very weak. 

Being a cop is what Kiah thrived on, and his absence has created a huge hole in the department. 

“It was standing room only at his retirement party,” said Renee. “Officers from everywhere were there.”

Lynn Haven Police Chief XXXX Messer says Kiah inherited his love of law enforcement from his dad.

“Dennis’ father was a police officer,” said Messer. “He was an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office. He died on duty. Had a heart attack during an interview and died.”

Because Kiah worked at the Lynn Haven Police Department for so many years, he forged many lasting friendships with his co-workers and his boss.
“Dennis was a hard worker and a good investigator,” said Chief Messer. “He was not only a fine law enforcement officer, he was a friend of mine for over 30 years.”

“He served on the Children’s Advocacy Board,” said Renee. “He handled child abuse cases and investigated complaints.”

Kiah was also known for his wry sense of humor -- and one of his strange eating habits.

“He would come in to work with a piece of bread and a chicken wing,” said Messer, with a laugh. “It took him about an hour to eat it and, when he was done, there was nothing left. He ate the bone marrow, everything.”

Messer said Kiah “knows all the police in the tri-state area” and that law enforcement is in his blood. He actually left law enforcement in 1996 and 1997 to give motorcycle and automobile repair a whirl, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“Being a police officer was his calling, and there was nothing else he could do. He just couldn’t be away from it.”

DONATE LIFE FLORIDA is a non-profit 501 (C)3 organization contracted by the State of Florida, Agency for Health Care Administration, to create the state’s organ, tissue and eye donor registry. Donate Life Florida is dedicated to motivating Floridians to designate themselves as organ, tissue and eye donors, so many lives can be saved and enhanced. More than 5,200 patients are listed at Florida transplant centers awaiting donations.
The Joshua Abbott Organ and Tissue Donor Registry was created in 2009 to allow Floridians an easy, user-friendly means of joining the state’s registry when renewing your driver’s license or obtaining a new license. You can also join by calling 1-877-35-SHARE and requesting a registry form. If you already have “organ donor” on your license, you are still encouraged to join the new registry to ensure your previous designation is documented.

Living Donors
You can make a difference by joining the ranks of over 50,000 living donors who have donated their kidneys to people facing kidney failure. Since 1954, when the first successful living donor transplant took place in Boston, living donors have been giving the gift of life and making a difference. 

Types of Donation
There are three types of living kidney donation; direct donation, paired exchange donation and Good Samaritan donation.
With direct donation, the donor generally knows the recipient and donates directly to them. If the donor is compatible, the donor's kidney can be transplanted directly into the recipient. One problem with direct donation is that direct donors are often incompatible or poorly compatible with their intended recipients - this means they are not the right blood type or do not pass a cross match test with the intended recipient. However, a donor can still help their intended recipient get a transplant if they are incompatible by participating in a paired exchange. Below is an illustration of the three hurdles that direct donors must clear before they can donate their kidney in a direct donation.
In a paired exchange donation, a donor will donate their kidney to another recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for their loved one. In the example to the right, the first pair, a mother and her son are incompatible. The second pair, a husband and his wife are also incompatible. In this exchange, the mother donates to the wife of the second pair and the husband donates to the son in the first pair. Often compatible pairs enter into a paired exchange to get a better match donor.
With Good Samaritan donation, the donor is giving to a stranger which initiates a chain of transplants. Chains are a way for one Good Samaritan donor (aka Non Directed Donor) to help many patients get transplanted. Chains are also revolutionizing the paired exchange process by facilitating better donor-recipient matches including some six antigen matches, which is important because a great match allows the transplanted kidney to last longer.
Many Good Samaritan donors choose to start chains because it is a way to help more than one person suffering from kidney failure. One chain typically facilitates anywhere from 2 to 30 transplants. The NKR pays for donation insurance for all Good Samaritan donor who start chains through NKR. Go to for more information