A journey of loss for one family, a gift of life for another

Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette
Slouched in an office chair in a subdued hotel conference room Thursday, John Bond waited to thank a stranger for saving his life.

He’d received a kidney transplant from Olga Kemaeva’s husband after the Russian man was killed while visiting Pittsburgh. Waiting for her to arrive, he felt nervous, really nervous.

“What do you say to someone?” he wondered aloud. “They lost a husband, the kids lost a father...I can’t say much more than thank you.”

Both families had come so far and through so much to end up in Pittsburgh, in this beige conference room on a snowy gray day. Unexpected phone calls yanked both Mr. Bond and Ms. Kemaeva from their lives.

Ms. Kemaeva’s call came first.

Her husband, Anton Kemaev, 35, was shot in the head while he was riding in the front passenger seat of a car on Second Avenue in South Oakland at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19. His friend, who was driving the car, was not hurt.

Police said neither man was the shooter’s intended target. The case is unsolved; investigators haven’t said who was shooting or why, haven’t released any suspect descriptions. Continue reading

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