Pinole man publicly thanks kidney donor

PINOLE, Calif. (KTVU) – A Pinole man tells KTVU he is so grateful to a woman who is donating an organ to save his life, that he wants to share his story. 

The 46-year-old father of two will undergo kidney transplant surgery in two weeks.

Anthony Obinyan is able to play with his two sons despite suffering from kidney failure.

Last fall, he was told he would need a transplant to survive, so he signed up with the national registry to receive a kidney donation.

After Obinyan signed up, he was told the wait would be eight years.

Though he was feeling physically fine, he says it was mentally challenging. "I couldn't get it together because I didn't know at what point I was going to go downhill," he said.

But his wife Amy didn't wait, saying, "I just told everyone... everyone." 

Including members of her weight loss support group where she had met Michelle Jarrett of Concord late last year.

Jarrett volunteered to be tested. "I thought about those two beautiful kids... their 8-year-old and their 10-year-old. It would be unfortunate for them to grow up without their father," said Jarrett who is the mother of two grown children herself.

Jarrett turned out to be a good match with the same blood type as Obinyan - A positive. She is also roughly the same age and healthy.

"I like to lead by example in life and maybe let people know that they don't have to be afraid to do something like this. You can live easily with just one kidney," said Jarrett. 

"What I see in my donor Michelle is one of those God sent persons - kindness and goodness," said Obinyan.

On Thursday Jarrett and Obinyan were at UCSF for pre-surgery registration and bloodwork.

The two finally met for the first time just two months ago during a walk for the National Kidney Foundation.

Obinyan and his wife say they are grateful to receive this gift and want to encourage others to be living organ donors, 

"It doesn't matter black, white, Hispanic, Asian. We can all give to each other. It's all about the possibility of giving a new life to somebody else," said Obinyan.

The couple tells KTVU Jarrett is now part of their family.

The Obinyans say there is some nervousness about the upcoming transplant surgery but that hope has gotten them this far, and hope will get them through this. 

Jarrett says this is the right thing for her to do.

There is a Go Fund Me account set up for Obinyan's kidney transplant.

Learn more about organ donation here.