(WLNS) – Throughout history people have talked about “unusual events” that couldn’t be explained.
Sometimes they caulked them up to “luck” or called them: “coincidence,” “fortunate happen-stance” or even “serendipity.”
No matter what you call it: three years ago, a string of “unbelievable similarities” happened between a man, his son and another teen, which left a lot of people shaking their heads in wonder.
Why? Because all three of them became a “perfect match.”
After 11-years and 65 surgeries, a kidney transplant for Jaiwan Davis-Harbour would be the “only thing” that would set him from this dialysis machine.
And after waiting and praying the “perfect match” came May 9, 2012.
It came from 16-year old Jonathan Clark.
The transplant was a “slam dunk,” a “perfect match” and it gave Jaiwan his life back.
But with any transplant, it came with a heavy price. Jonathan Clark, a Genesee County teen lost his life.
While at the hospital Jon’s father, Craig Clark watched a video about Jaiwan’s struggle to get a kidney. It was Jaiwan’s story that touched a reluctant father’s heart and motivated him to donate his son’s organs in the midst of agonizing grief.
Thanks to Craig’s generous decision, and with the help of Gift of Life Michigan, Jon saved the lives of four people.
But never in a million years did Craig think it would be Jaiwan, the boy in the video, who would receive his son’s kidney.
Craig eventually got to meet Jaiwan and his family at a Detroit Tiger’s baseball game, when Jaiwan was asked to throw-out the first pitch.
After lots of hugs and tears, a relationship between Craig and Jaiwan began, family gatherings, one-on-one “guy time” and weekly phone calls.
It soon became clear there were a lot of similarities between donor and recipient.
The boys even share the same birthday, July 26.
Not only do the teens share the same birthday and were the perfect match for the transplant, they’re both huge baseball fans.
Plus, after surgery, Jaiwan started to crave a food he never gave much thought to before: Beef Ramen Noodles.
Jaiwan’s mother says he started craving those more after the transplant. Beef Ramen Noodles were Jon’s favorite.
Gift of Life Michigan spokesperson Betsy Miner-Swartz says organ recipient stories like “that” aren’t unusual.
“It’s more common than you think,” said Betsy Miner-Swartz, Gift of Life Michigan.
“There’s a scientific definition of it. It’s called, “cell memory,” and it’s way beyond my field of expertise, but there is some study going on that cells remember things. And so when cells from another person go into a heart recipient or a kidney recipient, they’re still holding onto something from the person before,” said Miner-Swartz.
Craig and Jaiwan’s relationship continues to grow, filling deep, personal voids.
A father missing a son and a boy, missing a father figure.
Jon’s “school years” picture frame will never be completed.
But you can bet when Jaiwan gets his diploma, Craig will be there.
“Jaiwan won’t replace my son, but he’s almost like a son to me,” said Craig.
Through organ transplants, Jon saved the lives of Jaiwan and three others. But coincidence, serendipity, or even a higher power may have saved another life, too.
“Looking back at it now, if I hadn’t made this decision, I don’t really know where I’d be,” said Craig Clark, Jon’s father.
Neither does, Jaiwan’s mother. She is eternally grateful for the gift of life.
“I hate that it came from somebody so young, like Jon. And why he had to leave, we don’t know. But he was like an angel that came and gave him new life,” said Cherise Davis-Harbour, Jaiwan’s mother.
“Knowing your son, daughter, wife, child still lives on, a part of them live on, brings you peace and comfort, it really does, through that tragedy and that loss,” said Craig.
All this month 6 News has been telling stories of the fight against breast cancer, the emotional and physical battles, the triumphs and losses.
6 News also helped Habitat for Humanity build a house.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. we bring the stories together as 6 News takes another look at Friends for Life.