Man who donated kidney to stranger feeling 'right as rain'

A Nova Scotia man who gave one of his kidneys to help a total stranger is recovering well and says he's touched by the outpouring of support for his decision.

Both men are recovering well and hope to have a wheelchair race at the hospital on Friday

Geoff Kennedy and Rob Edwards chat in a Halifax coffee shop in mid-March. On Monday, Kennedy gave Edwards his kidney at a nearby hospital. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia man who gave one of his kidneys to help a stranger is recovering well and says he's touched by the outpouring of support for his decision. 

"Real beauty, true gratitude. A lot of people said this renews their faith in humanity," said Geoff Kennedy, who answered Rob Edwards's plea for help on Facebook. 

Edwards, a 38-year-old married father of two young boys in Lunenburg, N.S., had been waiting on a kidney for four years to replace the one a genetic disease was destroying. 

Kennedy, whose own father was given a second chance at life after a double lung transplant, saw the Facebook post, got tested, found he was a match and donated his kidney to Edwards on Monday. 

"I'm right as rain, thanks," Kennedy told the CBC's Information Morning.

He said he's not in a lot of pain — "more like a lot of discomfort, but not nearly as much pain as I first thought there would be."

'Wheelchair races' on the agenda

Kennedy hasn't yet seen Edwards, who is recovering on another floor of the hospital, but they've stayed in touch via social media and Edwards's friends and family stop by to visit Kennedy.

"But we have committed ourselves to having wheelchair races by tomorrow so hopefully by then," he said.

Edwards, a 38-year-old married father of two young boys, had been waiting on a kidney for four years. (Submitted by Rob Edwards)

Edwards is recovering well, said Kennedy, but it could still be weeks before he's released from hospital. Kennedy's recovery time is much shorter and he could be going home as early as Friday. 

"The results could not be more positive. He is healthy, he is reacting extremely positively to the kidney. They've moved him out of ICU very quickly. He is doing very, very well," said Kennedy.

Risks of surgery

Edwards must be closely monitored for any signs of rejection of his new kidney.

The risks for Kennedy are those typically associated with any surgery: the risk of infection and the risk of opening his incision. 

He said despite the risks, donating his kidney was "the right thing to do."

Kennedy said he's heard from friends who have signed up to donate blood for the first time and even one friend who reached out to Kennedy's live organ donor co-ordinator.

"I'd be surprised, knowing the size of the hearts of Nova Scotians, I'd be very surprised if it didn't [lead to more donations]," he said.

Even though Kennedy donated his kidney because he said he was the right thing to do, there was a surprise waiting for him when he awoke from surgery.

Edwards's two young children gave him a gift.

"Sarah, Rob's wife, had asked on their behalf what my favourite colour was and I just simply said anything that's celebratory and so they made me this wonderful clay rainbow with a flower growing in the middle of it," said Kennedy. 

"It's absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to get it professionally framed and hung in my house."

With files from Information Morning