Sgt. Jay Jones, who is a detective at the Sheriff's Office in Taylor County, talks about why he's donating a kidney to family friend Clayton Bolt of Abilene on Friday, July 13, 2018.
Laura Gutschke / Reporter-News
The star on Sgt. Jay Jones's uniform shines a little brighter.
The 25-year veteran of the Taylor County Sheriff's Office, who oversees detectives, donates one of his kidneys to Clayton Bolt, 28 years old. The procedure is scheduled for Wednesday at the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio.
Jones and his wife Lora have known Clayton and his family for more than 20 years through the veterinary clinic of Father Allen Bolts, where Mama Tayna also works. When the Jones learned that Clayton's sister Courtney Serna was being tested as a donor, Jones told his wife that he would do it if Serna was not an option.
Jones explains almost nonchalantly why he made such an offer.
"It never dawned on me not to do it, I think it's our responsibility as a fellow man to help someone in need, he was someone who needs help," Jones said.
Jones said the risks of being a donor, such as an infection, death during surgery, or kidney problems, are very low, especially when compared to the rewards.
"I've been a risk carrier all my life, I would not be in this job if I was not a risk taker," Jones said.
His wife and two adult children also supported the decision, Jones said.
Bolts need for a new kidney developed after diabetes has strained his kidneys. He was diagnosed with the disease when he was 12 years old. Bolts parents also have diabetes, making them unsuitable as potential donors, he said.
"Last May, I just got up and could barely move or anything," Bolt said.
At the time, he studied criminal justice at Huntsville, Sam Houston State University. He had to return home, where he continues his studies online. Another complication is that kidney dysfunction has caused Bolts blood pressure to fluctuate, he said.
"The prediction was that if we did not have a transplant before the end of the year, I'd probably be on dialysis," Bolt said.
Initial screenings in April showed that Serna would not be a viable donor to her brother because of tight arteries and the presence of kidney stones that was new to her.
"The doctor said, 'Do you know anybody who is healthy enough and ready, obviously willing to donate a kidney?'" Bolt said. "This is not a list you have on your fridge."
Serna suggested Bolt turn to Jones for a match.
"That's the hardest thing you ever have to do to ask someone, Hey, would you be willing to give up a kidney for me?" It's a tough question, "Bolt said.
Jones immediately started the screening process. In a laboratory in Abilene, 10 vials of blood and urine were analyzed, followed by further testing at San Antonio Hospital, including a psychological examination. The last hurdle was the consideration by the hospital transplant committee, Jones said.
Once approved, the operation was quickly scheduled. Both donor and recipient have preoperative procedures on Tuesday. If all goes well, Wednesday's surgical team will use robotic technology to remove one of Jones's kidneys through a cut in his stomach and transplant into Bolt.
Jones expects him to be hospitalized for one night and then has about six weeks of recovery, which does not involve heavy lifting. He also has to be more diligent in a healthy diet, he said.
Bolts hospital stay takes up to a week, as the medical team monitors how his body reacts to the new organ.
The Jones family will have their own way of knowing if the transplant is working.
"My wife told them," When Clayton wakes up and starts ordering everyone around, we'll know it's this kidney, "Jones said with a laugh. "This kidney has brought."
Despite the size of the gift, the conversations between the two men were very cautious.
"Guys do not talk much about their feelings, especially not with each other, so we did not have much conversation, he keeps thanking me and I keep telling him," It's alright, "Jones said.
Bolt looks forward to leading a normal, active life and pursuing a career in law enforcement as his health stabilizes.
Jones hopes that this procedure will open the eyes of others to becoming living donors.
"I'd like to make people more aware that there are people out there who actually need them to step forward, to step up." Let's delete some of these people from the waiting list, I think there are a lot more kidneys being used can be used as now, "said Jones.
"If you can help someone now and still have a productive, long life, why do not you do that?" Bolt said.
In addition to the upcoming dialysis, Bolt was also faced with waiting for up to ten years on a national waiting list, he said.
"I can not help thinking that I survived a lot of things that should have killed me just because a higher being, Jesus, wanted me to be here," Bolt said.
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