Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office communications officer Jesse Mesa estimates she was searching for a kidney for six years.
Life just kept getting in the way for the mother of two, who has battled Lupus since her diagnosis in 2004.
“I started in 2013 but there were some obstacles,” Mesa said. “I had thyroid cancer. Then my boyfriend had a massive heart attack so I had to stop the process to take care of him.”
In addition, her oldest son, 19-year-old Jordan, was diagnosed with Lupus recently, while her youngest son, 13-year-old Joshua, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of eight.
“She chose to put it off and wait,” Mesa’s boyfriend, PBSO Det. Clifton Hamilton, said. In 2018, Hamilton suffered a massive heart attack and nearly died three different times while in the hospital. Mesa opted to shelve the kidney search while Hamilton recovered.
“Unselfish. That’s just who she is,” Hamilton said.
In 2019, Mesa mustered up the courage with the support of Hamilton, as well as her work supervisors and family, to reach out to 5,000-plus employees at PBSO to see if anyone would be a possible donor match.
Within an hour, fellow dispatcher Amber Savoie replied.
“It was really kind of casual,” Mesa said. “I was shocked that someone could be so carefree.”
Savoie, who also volunteers her time as a color guard director at a Lantana high school, would eventually be a match after a series of tests.
“I would feel guilty if I didn’t try to save someone’s life and I could and two days from now her kids don’t have a mom anymore,” Savoie said.
Savoie and Mesa entered Cleveland Clinic on December 12 to undergo a successful kidney transplant.
“I say it a lot, Savoie is giving me the gift of life” Mesa said. “That’s probably the best gift anyone could give somebody.”