Thankful for the gift of life


Each year at Thanksgiving, when we are asked what we are thankful for, our answers often circle around friends, family, our jobs or our health.

For Reggie Ackie, a man who oversees security at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, as well as Piedmont Newnan and Piedmont Henry, his answer is all of the above – and they all come from the same place.

On the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 13, a coworker of Ackie’s from Piedmont Newnan, Cheryl Clark, donated her kidney to her friend, who has suffered from chronic kidney disease for more than 50 years.

Ackie was placed on the kidney transplant waiting list a year ago when his kidney function rapidly declined. He reached out to everyone in his family to see if they could donate a kidney. No one was a match.

“When I found out about Reggie’s need, I thought I can live with just one kidney and Reggie is someone that deserves it,” Clark said. “I took the questionnaire online and immediately started the process.”

With estimated wait times of 3-5 years, many people with kidney disease die before an organ becomes available. Living kidney donors like Clark help decrease wait times, improve long-term outcomes and lower the number of people on the deceased donor waiting list.

“I feel so blessed to have a living donor and my Piedmont family has been so supportive of my journey,” Ackie said. “If not for this program, I probably would have been on the transplant list for years and may not have been healthy enough to receive a transplant if and when a donor was identified.”

Today, there are more than 101,000 people waiting for kidney transplants in the United States. Nearly 5,000 live in Georgia. To learn more about becoming a living organ donor, visit