Employee’s wife saves a life

Jeanine Barker, wife of Louisville Water Lead Operator Paul Barker, was featured in a WAVE3 News story(link is external) earlier this month for an act of kindness. She donated a kidney to a coworker.

Jeanine works in the cafeteria at John Paul II Academy. When she learned that the janitor, Steve Riggs, had experienced kidney failure and was looking for a donor, she decided to see if she could help save her friend and colleague’s life.

She even decided that if she wasn’t a match as a donor for Riggs, she would donate to someone else so Riggs would move up on the kidney waiting list.

But “Steve was actually getting the school prepared for the first day of school when I was able to tell him that I was a perfect match,” Jeanine said.

The transplant surgery was a success, and the two patients have been recovering well.

“I think about everyone having two kidneys, and we’re hoarding,” Jeanine told a WAVE3 reporter. “We are hoarding. If everybody could just give a kidney.”

Paul said both he and his wife “hope to raise awareness about living organ donation.”