Lexington firefighter donates kidney to save young boy’s life

WATCH | Lexington firefighter donates kidney to save young boy’s life
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:08 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A young boy has a second chance at life thanks to the selfless act of a Lexington firefighter who donated his kidney.

When firefighters are on duty, it is their job to respond to emergencies and help people, but Tim Belcher says you’re a fireman whether you’re on duty or off. And it’s this life-saving call that he and the Sextons hope inspires others to be heroes too.

For the last two years, Katie and Joseph Sexton treated every day as a gift with their son John.

“I think the hardest part was the time frame,” said Katie. “They were telling us, ‘If he stays on dialysis, this will be his life expectancy. If he does this, this will be his life expectancy. To think five-seven years, our son could be deceased, it was really, really hard.”

The then five-year-old had contracted E-Coli and developed a rare disease that attacked his kidneys and depended on dialysis.

“It was really devastating because he was a young kid that was just starting out and had his whole life ahead of him,” said Joseph. “He was free-spirited, very independent, willing to do whatever he wanted to do.”

John’s dad Joseph is a lieutenant with the Lexington Fire Department. He had shared his family’s story with his colleagues and inspired many to get tested to see if they were a match with John.

And there was one with firefighter Tim Belcher, who didn’t think twice about it.

“It was a no brainer. I felt like it’s something we all would do or should do,” said Tim.

The two had the surgery Tuesday and are doing well and anxious to get home.

“He’s a champ,” said Tim’s wife, Tarah Belcher. “He’s a lot stronger than the doctors anticipated. He wanted to go home yesterday, and they were like, hmmm?”

“They’ve opened a door for him, and he can do much more things than what he was able to do then,” said Joseph. “The future for him is bright.”

A hero on and off duty; giving this little boy and his family a full and healthy life.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to help out,” said Tim. “That’s what we’re here for.”

John will be in the hospital for a couple of weeks before he is able to go home. Tim will be off duty for six to eight weeks while he recovers.