Before they met, the family of teenager Jonah King and the man whose life is sustained by King's donated liver knew about each other.
Donor rules do not allow organ recipients to meet the family of donors unless both sides agree and work through certain protocols.
But liver transplant recipient Ray Brooks, a volunteer firefighter in Pitt County, says he and his wife, Janet, used news accounts, coupled with what little the medical team told him about his young donor, to figure out it was likely Jonah. The 16-year-old who split time between Cumberland and Rowan counties died after a skateboard accident.
When Ken King, Jonah's dad, called Brooks on the phone in the spring of 2013, "They had found out about me," says Brooks. "We both knew about each other early, but we didn't violate protocol."
These days, Jonah's people and Brooks and his wife and two children are close.
"It's amazing," says Tina Todd, who is Ken's longtime companion. "They've become more family than friends. We talk to them often. Continue reading
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