“It was a no-brainer for me;” Man ends up being perfect match for longtime friend in need of kidney

·2 min read

Thousands of Americans have gotten a new kidney this year, two longtime friends are about to add to that number.

Donerik Black and Chris Cornwell’s brotherly bond goes back 25 years when they worked together at Newcom’s Tavern in the Oregon District.

Fate brought these two men together, friendship kept them together.

Black left Newcom’s to work in business with his father, Cornwell became a Dayton Police Officer.

Busy lives that brought unforeseen challenges.

Cornwell was shot in the line of duty May of 2003.

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He was also involved in two fatal shootings, both were justified.

Even though the city awarded him the medal of valor for helping rescue children from a burning building, he decided to leave the job he loved.

Black was dealing with issues of his own — primarily his father’s health.

“One day at dinner he just happened to say he had an appointment, ‘looks like I might need a kidney at some point, would you be willing to donate?’ And I was like, ‘Sure, pass the peas,” Black said.

The transplant was successful and his dad lived 14 more years.

During those years, Black developed cardiomyopathy, which caused his heart to deteriorate to the point he needed a new heart.

In February of 2015 Black said he got his gift.

“It’s one of those gifts that you can’t repay. All you can do is be grateful and promise, the person who decided on their worst day that they wanted to help somebody that you will honor their gift, and I try every day to honor my gift,” he said.

Now the very drugs that keep his body from rejecting his heart are ruining his remaining kidney.

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When Cornwell said he heard his friend was in need of a kidney he knew what he had to do.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” he said.

After a series of tests, procedures, and interviews he got news he couldn’t wait to share with Black.

“He calls me at work of all places. He’s like, ‘what are you doing?’ I’m like ‘working.’ He’s like ‘hold on a second,’... and says, “I’m a perfect match,’” Black recalled.

Black said it was a tough thing to ask for and he didn’t want to ask this of his long-term friend.

“This guy, I can’t, it’s hard to put into words what it means for somebody to do that,” Black said.

“I’m just going to continue to live a pretty amazing life because of his generosity,” he added.

They want their story to raise awareness about organ donation and to show, that although we may look different, those differences are only skin deep.

Their transplant surgery is scheduled for June 20 at the University of Cincinnati Health.

For more information about organ donation and how to register to be an organ donor go to lifeconnection.org.