Mack Simmons donated a kidney to his terminally ill sister Tanita when he was barely 17 years old. Tanita died a few years later, and Mack suffered the consequences of his noble act.
Mack was in tremendous discomfort due to kidney failure in his remaining kidney.
“It was to the point where sometimes I would go to work and I would just have to stop whatever I was doing because I was just in so much pain,” he told Good Morning America.
Mack eventually became unable to bear the discomfort and resigned from his position. He faced homelessness as a result of his inability to work, but he wasn’t alone. His son, John, assured him that he would be there for him at this difficult time.
“He said, ‘Dad if you’re gonna be homeless I’m gonna be homeless right along with you.’ I said, ‘Man, I raised you right.’”
The father-son team relocated from Washington, D.C. They drove to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived in their car for a short time. Mack was admitted to UPMC McKeesport Hospital after suffering an aortic obstruction. A team of doctors was dispatched to the scene right away.
Carol Madia, a member of Mack’s UPMC McKeesport care team, assured the patient that not only would they clear the obstruction, but they would also assist him in a variety of ways.
“After his big surgery we found out through the social workers in the ICU that he was facing a possible homeless situation, and his living situation wasn’t very good,” Madia told GMA. “He would need dialysis and he would need physical therapy and other medical care, and we wanted to make sure that he was able to get that and be discharged safely.”
While treating Mack in the hospital, the physicians were moved by his “genuine kindness” and worked to find him and his kid temporary lodgings and then a permanent home.
“Last year I would have never thought that this would happen,” John told GMA. “Living in my new home! This has been amazing, I’m not gonna lie.”
But no one was happier than Mack.
“Being able to walk again, because I wasn’t able to walk this time last year, it’s truly a blessing.”