‘Crazy scenario’: Central Florida families share unique kidney swap story


ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Emery, a 4-year-old Central Florida girl, has needed a new kidney since birth. Her parents unfortunately were not proper matches, but Hallie Thomas was.

Thomas happily donated a kidney to Emery, and as luck would have it, Emery’s mom was a match for Hallie’s husband, Richard, who also needed a kidney.

“For as long as I have this kidney, for as long as I’m alive, that family and that gesture is going to mean a lot to us,” Richard Thomas said.

A swap between families is rare, but to have all of the people involved living locally is virtually unheard of. The families met Monday for the first time.

“It means a lot to us, a piece of Hallie is part of their family, and their family is a part of our family,” Richard Thomas said.

“The anticipation of knowing who part of your body is with, that family and part of their body is in my daughter now, it’s a pretty crazy scenario,” Jamie McKenzie said.

The families plan to get together many times in the years to come.

“I have every intention of planning the reunion, multiple reunions from here until the end of time,” Hallie Thomas said.

They also look forward to an embrace when COVID-19 is no longer forcing social distancing.

“The time when COVID doesn’t exist and just wrap my arms around her and give her the biggest hug,” Hallie Thomas said.


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