UPDATE (02/07/22): Jeff received a kidney donation from Jupiter Police Officer, Guy Kitchens at Largo Medical Center. Learn more here: Police officer donates kidney to retired first responder he'd never met.
The car door flung open and a young Jeff slid inside. A SWAT member then said to him, “You ready for the ride of your life, kid?” It was Jeff’s father who gave him a look of reassurance through the rearview mirror of the car. As the son of an officer, Jeff often accompanied the SWAT team on ride-alongs involving petty crimes. This day was no exception. The sirens signaled as the adventure began for Jeff with his father, one of many more to come.
Jeff’s childhood was filled with a full range of experiences involving law enforcement which deeply influenced his decision pursue a law enforcement career. After many years since his childhood experiences with his father on ride-alongs, Jeff became a Deputy for the polygraph unit at Broward County Sheriff’s Office located in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Jeff established an impressive career, assisting with numerous cases which led to the apprehension of criminals involved in identity thief, sexual abuse, and capital murder. All the while, Jeff has suffered from a hereditary condition known as Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). The disease causes fluid-like sacs to develop on the kidneys (Cleveland Clinic, 2021). Jeff began to show symptoms of the disease as a young teen. Many individuals with PKD often fight against chronic pain and fatigue. Jeff’s discomfort became so severe that he had a morphine pump installed to help ease the painful symptoms. Members of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office have shown support and care by donating their vacation time to help extend Jeff’s sick leave, but he is still looking for a kidney donor with a blood type of A or O.
In addition to his accomplishments in the field, Jeff’s humility is truly admirable. Each day he met with individuals responsible for quite horrific crimes, yet his heart and positive outlook on life remained thriving and full of joy. There is a special place reserved for those who strive to find the light in the darkest of situations. His perspective is not only refreshing but infectious. I found myself questioning my own impact. It is rare to find someone who possesses such a strong moral character that it enriches your perspective and invites self-reflection. Jeff embodies the characteristics of selflessness, courage, and integrity that many officials in public service share. I feel fortunate to live in a world full of similar people who genuinely care about the well-being of others.
Now more than ever in this challenging pandemic, we’ve needed to unite as a community to protect our overall health and well-being. With a similar mindset of community, there are over a hundred thousand people in our country that rely on others to receive life-saving transplants. Thousands of transplant patients wait months or even years before they receive their needed organ. An alarming statistic found that every nine minutes another person is added to the transplant waiting list (HRSA, 2021). An already lengthy process has been further extended due to new safety protocols and procedures enacted as a result of COVID-19. The more of us that volunteer to give who can, the quicker these patients can be saved.
Selflessness is a commonality shared amongst the finest first responders. I encourage our Thin Blue Line Family to act in honor of their sacrifices. We must continue to look for ways to encourage, support, and uplift each other. Whether it be a salute, warm smile, or a kind word, these little acts of encouragement make a difference.
It is our pleasure and honor to share Jeff’s story. He is currently looking for a kidney donor with a blood type of A or O. If you would like to be accessed as a donor please contact Anna below.
Anna, Kidney Transplant Coordinator
Phone: (727) 588-5837
Largo Medical Donor Registration
Retrieved from https://www.organdonor.gov/learn/organ-donation-statistics
Cleveland Clinic (2021)
Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/5791-polycystic-kidney-disease
Comments will be approved before showing up.