Transplant patient: 'Pope blessed everyone'

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Tom Avirl

In more than four years on the waiting list for a kidney, Deborah Husmann had eight phone calls about a possible organ match.

Each time the kidney was a better fit for someone else, until - of all the weekends - Pope Francis was in town. And Husmann was a good hour-and-a-half away, camping in the middle of the Jersey Pinelands.

No matter. She made it by ambulance with an escort from New Jersey and Pennsylvania state police, and was in good spirits Sunday, the day after her four-hour operation at Jefferson University Hospital.

"Maybe the pope blessed everybody," said Husmann, 62, who is Catholic and lives in Berlin Borough, in Camden County.

Her husband, Chuck, 58, is not Catholic, but was happy to give credit.

"He blessed us, that's for sure," he said.

The two had parked their trailer at Wading Pines Camping Resort in Chatsworth Friday, and were relaxing with cousins when the phone rang.

A kidney was available from a middle-aged donor, and the organ was in pretty good shape. The Husmanns were interested, but there had been false alarms before. Continue reading