MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two families have been united through a selfless act that happened half a century ago.
Watching the Fracchias and the Teagues interact, one may think the families have been friends for years. But the small gathering at one of their homes in Germantown Tuesday was only the second time they met in person.
The first time was a couple of weeks ago.
“It was like we had conversations previously. It just felt like family,” Nancy Leggett, daughter of Annie Teague, said.
Their paths crossed long before then, spanning back 50 years.
Days before her sudden death, Annie Teague told her family she wanted to be an organ donor.
Aug. 28, 1970 was a tragic day for the four children she left behind.
“She was the good Samaritan,” Teague’s son James said. “We know she made the right decision.”
The difficult decision was to let her kidney go to a mother of three even younger children who desperately needed one.
“Without knowing these kids, she was kind of our angel,” Ray Fracchia said about Annie Teague.
Mary Fracchia was the third kidney transplant recipient in Memphis. The operation performed by Dr. Louis Britt helped the Fracchia children spend 13 more years with their mother.
After being encouraged by his father, Steve Fracchia combed through newspapers and Facebook to find the family of the woman who they called their angel.
The families connected and reunited for the first time, almost to the day their lives changed forever.
“My dad has been very adamant to say, ‘Be sure that this family knows that they totally changed the trajectory of our family history’,” Steve Fracchia said.
“Him reaching out to us, it was a blessing,” Leggett said about Fracchia’s mission to unite the two families.
Over the years, the Fracchia’s have become advocates for organ donation.
“We’ll always be grateful, and that’s an opportunity for everyone who can check a little box and become an organ donor. There’s such a contribution to be made,” Liz Breen, daughter of Mary Fracchia, said.
The Teague’s have followed in their mother’s footsteps.
“As a family, we’re all organ donors. So I think that says it all,” Leggett said.
Dr. Louis Britt, the physician who performed the kidney transplant, went on to found the Mid-South Transplant Foundation. Visit their site to learn more about how to become an organ donor: https://midsouthtransplant.org/donation-101/.