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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Pinecrest Executive Director Makes Selfless Decision
Charles Barkie gets a new lease on life with a donated kidney.

new kidney
Charles Barkie (left) and Rick Swygman (right) celebrate the successful kidney transplant.

NOTE: CBS Atlanta recently published an article and a video about this story. CLICK HERE to read the article and view the video.

What does it mean to be truly Christlike? Perhaps the key to that answer lies in the words said at the consecration of the Eucharist at every Catholic Mass, “This is My Body, which will be given up for you.”

Rick Swygman knows what it’s like to be Christlike.  Today (August 21, 2009) he is living Christ’s very words, as he undergoes surgery to give part of his own body to another.

Swygman is the Executive Director at Pinecrest Academy in Cummings, GA.   One Pinecrest dad who sends two of his four children to Pinecrest has discovered just how generous a brother-in-Christ can be.

Like Swygman, Charles Barkie knows what is to be Christ-like.  He has undergone great suffering through kidney dialysis for many months, according to Nancy Palmer, Marketing Director at Pinecrest.  She said he was fighting off infections and other health problems almost up to the day of the surgery.  Doctor’s had only given him a year in which to find a transplant, or else the situation would be “dire.”

During that year, potential donors underwent the testing to determine if their organs could be a “match” for Barkie.  Swygman was the best possible match for the donation.

The Pinecrest Executive Director’s immediate family is very supportive of his decision to go through with the procedure, said Palmer.   All four of Swygman’s children, ranging in age from 1st grade through high school, attend Pinecrest.

The Barkie family is “euphoric” about the decision, according to Palmer.  Earlier this week, Mrs. Barkie brought her husband and Swygman matching pajamas to wear in the hospital, as well as an iPod for Swygman to enjoy his favorite music during his convalescence.  

“Mr. Swygman has never had surgery before, nor even been in the hospital before this,” said Palmer.  He will be in the hospital for a few days, and will need to recover for a few weeks before returning to work.

For Barkie, the hospital stay and subsequent recovery will be much longer and more difficult.  Prayers and support will be needed for several weeks as Barkie’s body attempts to accept the kidney and regain strength. 

Please keep both the Swymans and the Barkies in your prayers!



Related links

Altius Foundation
Immaculate Conception Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Anáhuac Network of Universities
Canyon Heights Academy
Clear Water Academy
Dublin Oak Academy

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