LOS ANGELES — Eric Zane is donating his kidney to a high school acquaintance he connected with on Facebook.
Zane, formerly on Grand Rapids morning radio for years and currently host of the podcast The Eric Zane Show is in Los Angeles for the surgery Wednesday.
“It started on May 16, 2020,” Zane told FOX 17. “I was walking down the steps of my house inside. and then for some reason, a name popped into my head of a person that I went to grade school, junior high school, in high school. His name is Jeffrey.”
“It wasn't like we were best friends or anything,” but Zane looked up Jeffrey on Facebook anyway and found a person with a life full of professional success in advertising, marketing, and video.
They connected on Facebook, but when Jeffrey asked to talk on the phone, Zane was in for a shock.
He remembered Jeffrey’s words: “’I have kidney failure, stage five kidney disease.’ And he also revealed that, in the past year, year and a half, he's had upwards of 10 people, family members, friends who have tried to give him a kidney and it's never worked out.”
“People who need kidneys are faced with driving around with a sign on their car that say, ‘I need a kidney. Will you please help me?’” Zane noted.
“I was convinced right then and there within a second after that happening … that I was going to give him my kidney and that it was going to work.”
Zane hadn’t consulted with anyone, let alone his wife, who was sitting nearby during the call. But when he asked her hypothetically if she would give her kidney in the same situation, “She said, ‘Absolutely, yes.’”
“We just decided we're going to do this. And that's it.”
The process required “a laundry list of tests,” including numerous blood draws. But about 200 days later, Zane is at UCLA in Los Angeles preparing for surgery.
Zane described the experience as “an insane roller coaster.”
But he has no regrets. “I can't let him die. I mean, if Jeffrey would have eventually died … I would have said, ‘You could have done this.’”
“I think that if we just understand that it's a gigantic deal for the person who's receiving (the kidney) and doesn't have to be nearly as big of a deal for someone like me who's giving it.”