Organ recipient meets donor 's family for the first time - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Organ recipient meets donor 's family for the first time

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SAN FRANCISCO - A young Mesa man took his own life, but he saved another.

He was an organ donor and last week, the parents of the young man met the woman who received his kidney.

The man's parents still live in Mesa, but they traveled to San Francisco to meet the woman for the very first time. It was a meeting that was filled with hugs and tears.

Faith Tootell and Kim Choppi sat and held on to one another. They just met, but they already have a unique connection.

"When I first saw her I thought, oh my God, he did good. My son did good," said Kim Choppi.

Three years ago, Kim Choppi's son, Michael, took his own life, but the 24-year-old from Mesa was an organ donor and Tootell received his kidney.

On Friday, Choppi's parents made a trip to San Francisco to meet Tootell for the very first time. Both admit they were nervous. "Butterflies,  stomach in knots," said Choppi.

Tootell's biggest fear was that she was not a disappointment to them.

They seemed to become fast friends. The Choppi's shared photos of their family and son, a standout soccer player.

Tootell says not a day goes by she doesn't think of 24-year-old Choppi.

"We live right on the hills in Freemont and when I am looking on the beautiful hills in front of me, I think of Michael," said Faith Tootell.

The Choppi's say they're registered organ donors and encouraged their three children to become donors as well.

So when Michael Choppi died, his liver and both kidneys were donated.

"I not only thank him for his kidney, which how could you ever thank somebody enough for that, but I thank him for what he's taught me: to enjoy every second of life," said Tootell.

"To lose a child, just to know it was not in vain, and something good came out of his death, it helps a lot," said Choppi.

The Donor Network of Arizona shows more than 2,100 people are waiting for an organ. There are more than 111,000 waiting in the United States.
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