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'It's a huge honor': Lexington firefighter donates kidney to fellow firefighter's son

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 18:47:50-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — In 2021, Lexington Fire Department Lieutenant Joseph Sexton's son, John, got very sick. What Sexton and his wife, Katie, thought was a stomach bug turned out to be much worse.

John, who was 5 years old at the time, had contracted E-Coli 0157. The E-Coli then developed into a rare disease called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

Doctors said John needed a life-saving kidney transplant.

"It's really devastating cause here's a young kid that's just starting out, has his whole life ahead of him," Lieutenant Sexton said. "And then it's kind of like, hmm, not no more."

Little did the Sextons know, a fellow LFD firefighter and close friend, Tim Belcher, was getting tested to see if he was a match.

He was.

The successful kidney transplant surgery was on Tuesday.

"It's truly an honor to be able to help out," Tim Belcher said Thursday. "That's what we're here for: to help each other. So it's a huge honor, a godsend."

It's a gift that will allow John, now 7 years old, to enjoy being a kid again.

"They've opened a door for him and he can do much more things than what he was able to then and the future for him is bright," Sexton said.

"Firemen are firemen on duty or off," Belcher said. "All I ever want to do is help."