Ten months ago, Sgt. Jacob Chadwick learned his kidneys were failing and he would need a transplant.
It was about the same time that he and his wife Victoria gave birth daughter, Ella Marie. He was devastated, believing he might not watch his daughter grow up.
“Going through this up until now was a struggle because you want to be there, you want to help and do the things that dads are supposed to do with their kids,” Sgt. Chadwick said.
After months of searching and sending out emails to other friends, family and other military networks, Sgt. Chadwick received word that a matching donor had been found.
The donor happened to be another Marine who died due to non-combat related issues.
The donor is 2nd Lt. Patrick Wayland of Midland, Texas. The Marine, 24 was training to become a naval aviator and had suffered from cardiac arrest during an underwater training exercise in Pensacola, Florida.
Lt. Wayland was a registered donor and his family requested that his organs go to military personnel in need.
A doctor in Pensacola did a search online and came across Sgt.Chadwick's story. Both Marines were blood type O.
“It’s more than just a kidney,” he said. “It came from a fellow Marine. It’s a pretty deep connection. No matter where you are, these are your brothers.”
The transplant was successful, and on Thursday – just four days after the surgery – Sgt. Chadwick’s prognosis is excellent, said Dr. Kristin Mekeel, transplant surgeon at UC San Diego Medical Center. He believes he will return to his house in San Marcos by Thursday night.
Five other service members also received organs from the fallen Marine. Sgt. Chadwick said he hopes he can meet the family of the Marine who donated his kidney, and he has already spoken with friends of the donor.
“[The friends] were joyful that it worked and that I’m here and that their friend helped me out,” Sgt. Chadwick said. “I’ll always have a piece of him with me. Even though I didn’t know him, it’s weird the connection you feel."
He and Victoria are expecting a son in late November to early December.
“I feel much more confident about my future with my kids,” Sgt. Chadwick said. “They’re going to have their dad around.”
Funeral services for Lt. Patrick Wayland took place Friday in Midland, Texas.