When William Short sent out the text message about his failing kidneys, Bobby White didn’t hesitate to donate one of his own.
Short and White are far from strangers. The two men were members of the same fraternity while attending Texas Tech University in the 1990s, and are members of the same fantasy football league.
Since their league’s inception, Short said he has hosted the draft at his home, inviting everyone to reconnect before picking their players for the season.
But this year, Short sent out the yearly invite telling everyone this year was going to different because it might a while before he could host the draft again. When pressed by White, Short told him he needed new kidneys.
With an unknown future on the donor waiting list, Short said he was not sure when he would be able to receive a transplant or be able to host the fantasy draft again.
Almost immediately, Short said White told him he would be taking one of his kidneys and would not be taking “no” for an answer.
“It’s hard to describe,” Short said. “For someone to think that much of you, is in a lot of ways, overwhelming. You would expect it from a spouse or from your family, but for Bobby to do that, was just really, really incredible. I can’t really describe the emotions. There’s no words for it.”
White, a battalion chief for Odessa Fire/Rescue, said he knew immediately the two men had the same blood type — O positive – and started the process to donate one of his kidneys to Short.
White is a graduate of Odessa High School, and began his career with Odessa Fire/Rescue in 1998. He was promoted to battalion chief in 2016, replacing outgoing battalion chief Kavin Tinney.
After undergoing exams to confirm both men were compatible, White was successfully able to donate his kidney to Short in September.
The process, from announcement to surgery, took a couple of months. Short said if he waited for a transplant, he could have been waiting for up to a year, and also had to manage dialysis while he waited.
“Your position (on the list) is by age and health,” Short said. “I’m in pretty good health … and what they were telling me is I could have gotten a cadaver kidney in 12 to 18 months.”
Since the transplant, both men have encouraged others to research the Living Organ Donation process: A process that allows people to donate certain organs to friends or family as long as they meet the criteria.
According to the Human Resources and Services Administration website, almost 6,000 living donations take place every year.
Now back at work, White said he asked for only three things of Short: to be a “damn good father,” a “damn good husband,” and an annual meet up to have a beer together.
“Will’s a great guy,” White said. “I wouldn’t have done this for just anybody. I know I needed to do it. Seeing him improve … it’s a God-given miracle.”
Short said he is still recovering, and said he asked White several times if he was sure he still wanted to go through the process; all the way up to the day of the operation. But Short said White was steadfast in his commitment.
“Bobby’s offer was genuine, and just so rare, and so selfless,” Short said.