It started with a message on Facebook. April Capone-Almon, the mayor of East Haven, Connecticut, noticed a status update from an acquaintance -- not even a good friend -- with a desparate plea: He needed a kidney, and none of his friends or family were matches.
"So I messaged him immediately and said, 'You know, I'll try,'" Capone-Almon said.
She tried. She was a match.
After months of physical testing, mental testing and plenty of prep work, Capone-Almon gave one of her kidney's to a man she barely knew one of her kidneys. Doctors performed the transplant two weeks ago, and Capone-Almone returned to work this week.
“Seeing him in the hospital and seeing him just come to life to be a whole new person and seeing him eating...," she said. "I still don’t have my appetite back and he’s just eating everything in sight and that’s tremendous."
The kidney recipient, a father in his 40s, did not want to be interviewed. Both of his kidneys failed due to diabetes, and he was about to be put on dialysis.
“Throughout the whole process, he kept saying even if you decide to not do this, I will be appreciative and understand and that was very kind,” she said.
Now, as the mayor recovers, she still feels some discomfort and gets tired easily. But she has a message to deliver: “Be an organ donor. I don’t want people to put me on a pedestal because I don’t want people to think that this is something so big that they don’t think they could never do it."
Now, Capone-Almon shares a unique bond with the recipient. They talk on the phone every day, and she doesn't think that will stop.
“He calls me his little sister and I’m proud to be," she said. "It’s just a happy thing, a happy thing and it's wonderful to see him and his family so happy and it's just a great thing to do."