Blytheville best friends share a kidney

Blytheville best friends share a kidney
Two best friends in Blytheville now share a kidney. (Source: WREG)

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT/WREG) - A Blytheville man has saved his friend’s life, claiming he was simply returning the favor.

Memphis television station WREG reports that Chavis Spann and James Rogers met at the age of 6 on the playground.

The two men graduated together from Blytheville High School. Spann was the best man in Rogers’ wedding.

“We’ve got one of the deepest friendships. He’s not just my friend. He’s like my brother. He’s everything to me,” James told WREG.

When they were 11, Rogers saved Spann from drowning.

Spann was in prison for eight years but is now a preacher and started a church in Gosnell.

WREG reports that Rogers was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and has had to do dialysis for nine hours a day since 2014.

His doctor said that the only way out would be finding a donor.

“Give me five people you’d think would give you a kidney,” Rogers told WREG. "I picked my two brothers, my mother, my sister and my best friend Chavis.”

None of Rogers’ blood relatives were a match, but Spann was.

“I’ve seen James go through enough, and to be his friend and to be able to do something about it, and not doing anything about it, that’s not love. So I really wanted to,” Spann said. “I was afforded the opportunity to help my best friend continue to live, so no matter what I had to go through, I was cool with it.”

But Spann was overweight and after another four years, he was approved.

The two best friends underwent surgery at Methodist Hospital in Memphis together, both of which were a success.

"July 9, it just was the greatest day of my life because me and Chavis was able to go in and get a kidney transplant,” Rogers told WREG.

They’re in a recovery room now, and of course, one will not leave without the other.

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