The gift of life

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Apr 13, 2011 - 05:36 PM

Photo: Gloucester resident Lori Whitley, right, changed Larry Proctor’s life when she gave him a precious gift—a kidney.

Gloucester resident Lori Whitley, right, changed Larry Proctor’s life when she gave him a precious gift—a kidney.

Lori Whitley barely knew Larry Proctor a scant few months back.

She and her husband, Jeff, who live in Gloucester, were friends with Proctor’s sister, Sissy Hayes of Ark, and they had heard about Proctor’s medical problems from her, but they had only met him a couple of times. Now, Lori and Larry share a bond: Her left kidney is implanted in his right abdomen, keeping him alive.

A lifelong diabetic, Larry suffered kidney failure in 2002 and received a double transplant of a kidney and pancreas the following year. Then in 2008, he lost both organs when his appendix ruptured and damaged them. Suddenly, Larry’s life was tied to dialysis, and the now 41-year-old suffered a series of setbacks that landed him in the hospital time and time again. He had to give up his landscaping business, and he ended up moving in with his sister.

"I was in rough shape," said Larry. "I couldn’t make it by myself."

"Every time I talked to Sissy, she said ‘he’s not doing good,’" said Lori. "He was in the hospital for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas."

Then during one of those conversations last year, after meeting Larry’s 7-year-old daughter Ruthie, Lori told Sissy, "I think I can help him."