Alecia McClung had three young boys when she found herself on the waiting list for an organ transplant in 1999. She recalls, “I was sick with kidney disease… and to be honest with you, I was losing my hope.” Her hope was that her youngest son would know and remember his mom. Alecia waited four years before receiving the phone call that would change her life forever.
It was at this same time that Penny Bade, the customer service coordinator at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Transplant Center, was mourning the murder of her youngest son on his fifteenth birthday. Penny said, “I had to take all that pain I had and turn it into some power… Let me not be selfish and let me make the decision to donate his (her son’s) organs.”
On December 14th, 2003 Alecia received the kidney and pancreas from Penny’s son. Alecia was beyond blessed to have this new life and energy inside of her. She was able to keep up with her three sons and her husband. Alecia wrote a letter to her donor family to express her gratitude. A year after her transplant Alecia received a call. She recalls, “Penny called… and she said, ‘I think this is the phone call you’ve wanted all year’.” Penny was right. Alecia was very blessed to meet Penny. Upon meeting, Alecia learned that Penny works in the Transplant Center at NMH. Alecia now looks forward to her appointments at the Transplant Center because it gives her a reason to see Penny.
Penny and Alecia are still good friends to this day. They speak at numerous events to promote organ donation. They have formed an incredible bond through this experience. Alecia is doing well. She keeps busy going to her son’s baseball games and running her own business. Penny’s selfish decision changed Alecia’s life forever and she thanks God for this gift of life every day.