A woman in need of a second kidney transplant will soon get it thanks to her co-worker. Both work as dispatchers at the Baldwin County 911 call center and spend their days helping others. Now, a lot of folks are reaching out to help the woman with difficult days ahead.
In an emergency situation in Baldwin County, the first voice you hear after dialing 911 could very well be that of Leslie Buchanan. In her years of service, she's been a calm voice to soothe nerves and send help to those in need. Buchanan found herself in need of help more than a year ago when doctors told her a kidney she'd received wasn't being accepted by her body and she'd need another. Tight bonds with those around her have helped her move forward.
"Family and being lucky enough to have a job that works with me because unfortunately, I'm sick quite a bit, but mainly just family and friends, just knowing that you've got somebody to fall back on if you need to," Buchanan said.
One of those friends and co-workers has been more than a shoulder to lean on. Reshay Keith works alongside Buchanan and wanted to help. They're not a match for one another, but because of Keith's donation of her kidney to another recipient, Buchanan was moved to the front of the line and a match was found for her. It was something Keith felt compelled to do.
"February 28 of 2015 my dad passed away and I was on the other end of the phone…had to call 911 and she was working. She answered my call. It put it in a different perspective for me," Keith said. "I seen the compassion and the love. Even though she was a co-worker, it was different to me."
It's been a journey of more than a year to become qualified as a donor and it was just a week ago that the phone call came that there is a match for all parties. It was a day to celebrate.
"It's been a struggle. Dialysis is tough and so it just, you know, I felt like I could breathe, like it's a silver lining. It's coming," Buchanan said. "Like I can once again go outside and run or play with my daughter which I don't have the energy to do now."
There are still many challenges ahead and Buchanan plans to take them on one at a time. To help with some of her expenses, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Posse donated a check for $1,000 on behalf of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Foundation. Buchanan has no more vacation time so the Robertsdale Volunteer Fire Department is also holding a fish fry to help with bills while she's out.
"They're the most important, unseen heroes that we've got so they give us the information we need," explained Robertsdale Fire Chief, James Bauer. "They're the most important to us so it's important that we take care of them."
Fish plates will be sold for eight dollars on June 16th. Buchanan and Keith are scheduled to have the transplant procedure this summer in Birmingham. If you want to help with her expenses, you can find information about her GO-FUND-ME page at https://www.gofundme.com/saving-a-dispatcher.