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The Gift of a Kidney from an Unlikely Donor

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Chazley Williams always had the dream of walking across the stage in her cap and gown, her Master of Education degree in hand. “One of my motivations is helping others reach their goals,” said Chazley. “That position for me, as well as wanting to get my master's and pursuing that, and helping others, was also that motivation.”

In Summer of 2019, Chazley, a newlywed, was well on her way to earning her master’s from Regent University, when she suddenly became ill. “I started experiencing issues with my urine,” she explained. “Also, my feet and ankles starting to swell really bad to the point where it was hard to even put on shoes.”

Chazley was diagnosed with stage four kidney disease. She desperately needed a kidney transplant but the wait could take as long as three to six years to find a match. In the meantime, she’d need eight hours of dialysis every day to stay alive. She turned to God for answers. “I honestly don’t think it really sunk in until I remember I was on my way somewhere and I couldn’t get shoes on my feet. I just remember sitting there crying. My feet were swollen to the point where it hurt to touch the ground,” recalled Chazley.

After seven months of enduring daily treatments, juggling studies, home life, and a full-time job, Chazley made the hard decision to take a leave of absence from school. “I have been through so much as a whole in life that I don’t want to go through something else,” she explained. “I was fighting through having to deal with this situation. I didn’t want to have to be tied down to dialysis. I’m not going to have to deal with this because I don’t have the capacity to deal with this.” Eventually, she gave it all to God, and prayed that she would soon find a match for a kidney transplant. “I was like, okay, like you know, God’s going to heal me. I’m going to heal through this,” she exclaimed. 

A year later, she made the decision to return to school to help give some normalcy to her life. “If I go back to school, that would put me back on my regular schedule so I don't have to think about everything else going on,” said Chazley. Two weeks into the semester, Chazley received an email from one of her online professors, Dr. Ryan Murnane, asking if he could call her. She assumed it was class related. “As soon as he called me,” she said, “he asked if I still needed a kidney donor and I told him yes!”

Chazley had relayed the information during her course work to Dr. Murnane. He didn’t think twice about offering her one of his kidneys. He expressed, “If somebody in my family needed something that I couldn't give, I would want somebody to step up if I was not willing to give. I figured, this is an opportunity to help somebody.”

Chazley recounted the conversation between her and Dr. Murane. “During that time, I’m listening but at the same time I was like, 'is this even possible to even happen?' I remember I was getting his information to pass onto my transplant coordinator, and at that time, I think when I got off the phone it was one of those moments where you’re thinking, is this real?  You know, can this actually happen?”

As it happened, Dr. Murnane had already been registered and tested as a kidney donor to help a young boy just months earlier. While it didn’t work out, he was still willing to make the sacrifice for someone else. “It was about following the journey, not necessarily understanding the destination,” Dr. Murnane said. “Because I felt called to donate to the kid, but it didn't happen. But it was because getting prepared to donate to the kid was just part of the journey.” 

Within a week, Chazley had been tested and had the results - they were a match! In November 2020, Chazley and Ryan went in for transplant surgery. It was a success, and within 48 hours of the procedure, Chazley went home with a new kidney. “I don't think, until after I actually came out the hospital that I was, I really had that knowledge of, okay, like this is like my life has changed in some capacity. My professor just saved my life,” she exclaimed.

In December 2023, three years after the transplant, Chazley fulfilled her dream as she graduated with a Master’s in Education. Dr. Murnane hooded Chazley in a private ceremony. “That opportunity is, kind of a reflection of the Regent culture,” Dr. Murnane explained. “If you work hard, we want to celebrate with you and be able to give you an experience, even if there are restrictions or accommodations that are needed.”

Chazley expressed her surprise to the private hooding ceremony. “That was a complete, complete surprise. It was tears and everything for me. I was more shocked than anything and so when I'm shocked and surprised I immediately cry. I never intended this to even happen.” 

Today, Chazley is working full time for a university doing what she loves, counseling and helping others in their career journey. Dr. Murnane is still at Regent as Assistant Vice President for Academic Policy and Compliance. Chazley is grateful for how God used Regent to answer her prayers for healing and fulfilling her dreams. “There is a God out there that continues to shine light on us to be able to help us,” she said. “He continued to change my mindset and change me, while also changing others. Continue to pray and thank God for what you do have and have hope that things will change.”


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About The Author


Morgan Costner is a features producer for The 700 Club (2023) and formerly the Production Coordinator for The 700 Club (2020-2023). Morgan and her husband, Thomas, both work for the Christian Broadcasting Network and actually met while working together on a project. They serve as the Young Adult Directors at their church, Harvest Assembly, and are in love with their sweet pets, Percy and Julia.