Dauphin County man determined to give gift of life

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Jesse Rawls was in need of a kidney transplant and was on the waiting list for nearly a year and a half until he finally got the call he had been waiting for.

“I was in the chair receiving dialysis when my daughter-in-law called me,” said Rawls, “She told me I had a donor.”

John Fox had read a story about Rawls’ situation and said he wanted to help out.

“I had tried to save the life of a woman who was struck by a car while she was crossing a road in Lower Paxton Township,” said Fox, “She didn’t make it, but I was determined to save someone’s life, if the opportunity presented itself again.”

Fox went through a rigorous testing process to qualify for the kidney donation. He was overweight and had high blood pressure.

“It was important for me to get in better shape to help Mr. Rawls and myself,” said Fox, “I was determined to become healthier.”

Fox lost weight, but he still had high blood pressure and was removed from the organ donation program. He wrote a letter to the doctors, and he was eventually let back in.

A late September transplant was canceled because Fox developed an infection in his knee, so it was rescheduled for Nov. 3, Election day, and Fox had not requested a mail-in ballot.

“The doctors must have been Democrats because I am a Republican and Mr. Rawls is a Democrat, said Fox, “He is black and I am white, but that does not matter to me.”

Fox, a Penn State fan, says he didn’t hold it against Rawls, that he is a Michigan graduate.

The surgery was a success, and Rawls says he noticed the difference.

“Within 24 hours, I felt like a totally different person, said Rawls. “What John went through to give me a second chance at life, was remarkable.”

Fox says he glad that he could help.

“Everyone knows the story of a good samaritan, and that is a stranger walking down the road, seeing another stranger in need, “said Fox, “and when you see someone that needs help, you help.”

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