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Just 2 Days After Getting Married, Florida Bride Donates Kidney to Her New Husband's Ex-Wife

Western Journal



It’s no secret that divorce can cause a lot of fallout, no matter what the cause for the split. While it’s rare to find families that have gone their separate ways but still remain cordial, it’s rarer still to find families where all parties concerned make an effort to spend time together.

And it’s almost unheard of for a wife to offer her husband’s ex-wife an organ, but that’s exactly what happened between Debby Neal-Strickland and Mylaen Merthe.

Mylaen, 59, and Jim Merthe got a divorce nearly 20 years ago. Mylaen has struggled for years with kidney disease, and last November, her kidneys were at a mere 8 percent functioning capacity.

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Despite her kidney disease and the ever-present threat of COVID-19, Mylaen was determined to meet her first grandbaby. But to thrive, she’d need a donor. Mylaen’s brother was ready and willing, but sadly he was not a match.

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Enter Debby Neal-Strickland, 56, of Ocala, Florida, who had a generous heart, a kidney to spare and experience with watching loved ones suffer through health problems, in desperate need of a donor. Debby’s brother passed away from cystic fibrosis. He’d needed a double lung transplant, something she couldn’t give and wasn’t a match for anyway.

She and Jim are also raising five teens and a 6-year-old with autism. Some of them are Debby’s grandchildren, some are foster children. Suffice it to say, they’ve got their hands full.

Debby and Jim went on their first date ten years ago, and have intended to get married several times but have repeatedly changed the date because their children have had their own engagement announcements.

They’d finally settled on Nov. 22. Reflecting on Mylaen’s condition, Debby knew how important it was for her to be present for her daughter and grandson, and Debby also found out that she was a kidney donor match.

“I just couldn’t not try to change that,” Debby told Fox News about the possibility that Mylaen wouldn’t live to see her daughter give birth. “God told me, ‘You’re a match and you need to do this.'”

“When somebody needs an organ, if they don’t get it, they’re probably not going to make it. I know it’s something that you do quickly.”

As the possibility of a kidney donation arose, the two began to grow close. Debby went through testing to see if donating would be a reality, and Mylaen tried not to think about the alternative. She said that Debby knew seeing her grandson was “all I ever wanted,” and the offer was “from her heart.”

Everything looked good, and Debby was cleared to donate a kidney to Mylaen. There was only one problem: The surgery had been set for Nov. 24, just two days after Debby and Jim’s wedding.

It didn’t stop them, and Debby went through with both the wedding and the surgery.

“It was the most amazing day of my life, until two days later,” Debby said. “That was also the most amazing day of my life.”

After the surgery, Mylaen immediately asked to see Debby. Because of COVID precautions, it took some time, but it was her first request.

“‘I need to see her,'” Mylaen recalled saying. “That was the first thing out of my mouth.”

“We had our masks on too, so we’re crying, and of course our stomachs were hurting because of the incisions. We kinda laughed and cried.”

Debby voiced her amazement at how quickly Mylaen began to improve with the new-to-her, healthy kidney, saying that “she looked so alive and revitalized.”

Mylaen lived to become a grandmother, and then in March was made a grandmother all over again when another grandbaby was born. The two grandmothers share more now, pray for each other and have named themselves the “kidney sisters.”

The future holds lots of plans, including a combined family trip, all thanks to Debby’s unusual and sacrificial generosity.

“This is what the world is about,” Mylaen said.

“Family. We need to stick together. She saved my life.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.


After Seeing Kids Playing Basketball with Milk Crate, Officers Go Above and Beyond to Get Them Real Hoop

Western Journal



They say necessity is the mother of invention, and when you’re a kid with limitless imagination, many things are possible. That was certainly true of a group of kids in one Chicago neighborhood whose love for basketball was great enough that they found what they could to set up a basketball court: a small cement slab and an old milk crate. It was enough for a time, even if it wasn’t regulation. But that all changed after some Chicago Police Department officers spotted the kids. The story that resulted was heartwarming enough that Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown had to tweet the story. “Officers from @ChicagoCAPS06 noticed a group of children in the neighborhood playing basketball using a milk crate as their hoop,” Brown wrote on Monday. “The officers saw an opportunity to help the kids with their game, so they got together to buy them a new hoop and basketballs.” Officers from @ChicagoCAPS06 noticed a group of children in the neighborhood playing basketball using a milk crate as their hoop. The officers saw an opportunity to help the kids with their game, so they got together to buy them a new hoop and basketballs. 🏀🏀🏀 — Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) June 21, 2021 Two officers lugged the boxed gift to the porch where another officer stood as a woman covered a young man’s eyes, removing her hands to reveal the surprise. The boy, upon seeing the brand-new basketball hoop immediately shouted “thank you!” and started bouncing up and down with excitement. These #ChicagoPolice officers surprised the kids with their new hoop and took time out to assemble it for them. — Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) June 21, 2021 “Is that a little bit better?” one of the officers asked. “Yeah!”…

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'Chunk' the Golden Retriever Missing for 2 Weeks Finally Found by NJ Troopers Swimming in the Bay

Western Journal



The last two weeks have been turbulent for a family in Brick, New Jersey, after their beloved 3-year-old golden retriever ran off and disappeared. Jim Zangara had been on his boat with Chunk, the dog, and paused to talk to another boater. Looking for Chunk, he realized the dog had gotten off the boat. “And all of a sudden I looked to see where he was, and he was in the woods a little bit,” Jim told the Asbury Park Press. “And I said, ‘Come here, Chunk,’ and he had his toy in his mouth, turned around and boom. And for no reason.” “He’s very timid. He always has been. So maybe something scared him and that’s why he took off. It was very odd for him to do what he did.” “LOST DOG — Sunday 6/6/21 at F-cove,” Marie Puzio Zangara posted on the Lost Dogs in Ocean County Facebook page. “His name is Chunk, and he’s scared. Last spotted running back into the woods/marsh behind Mantoloking Rd. Please call 973-945-9299 or Brick PD if spotted! Please don’t chase — he’s very skittish — he will run.” Posts were shared across many relevant lost and found groups online. People kept their eyes open for the large dog, and his family waited and wondered if they’d ever see him again. As the days passed, Marie’s fears grew. “This past week has been tough,” she told NJ Advance Media. “No one had seen him since the eighth day he was missing. I was worried maybe he had gotten hit by a car or was off in the woods where we couldn’t find him or someone had grabbed him.” But then, on Tuesday morning, he was spotted, and it took multiple people on land and sea to get…

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