PRATT — Oct. 14 is a date James Sheldon will always remember. It was the day he felt good for the first time in 20 years.

On that day, he received a kidney transplant and his life changed forever. Now recovering at home, Sheldon, a Pratt police officer, said he is so very thankful for the miracle of his kidney journey and for how people came forward and helped his family.

“Symptoms I’ve had for 20 years were gone the day I got my kidney,” Sheldon said.

While Sheldon has had health issues for 20 years, he was just diagnosed with a polycystic kidney two and a half years ago. The ailment runs in his family. His grandmother, two aunts and one uncle all died from the disease.

Sheldon received his new kidney from a living donor at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. Finding the donor was nothing short of a miracle.

Sheldon was in a kidney chain, one of 30 at the medical center, and his chain was extraordinary. His wife, Beth, tried to donate her kidney but it wasn’t a match. A woman named Cara decided she wanted to donate a kidney and went through the living donor program at the KU Med Center.

Meanwhile, a little boy, Wiley, was born with two bad kidneys and had been on a feeding tube all his life. Doctors were struggling to keep him alive long enough to get a kidney.

A man named Mark West wanted to donate a kidney to Wiley but was not a match. That’s where Cara stepped in — her kidney was a perfect match for Wiley.

And West? He was a perfect match for Sheldon.

“Everything was orchestrated by a higher power,” Beth said. “I now know there was a reason I couldn’t donate to him.”

Children’s Mercy Hospital worked with the KU Med Center to make the transplant happen.

Like Sheldon, West is a police officer and with the Liberal Police Department. Wiley’s parents are both officers on the Liberal Police Department.

Sheldon’s road to the transplant was a long, difficult path. He suffered for decades with unexplained pain, but it wasn’t until he was having severe back pain that a large growth was discovered on his left side. It turned out to be his kidney. Cysts were bursting.

He al found out that he only had one functioning kidney and it was only at 12%.

Sheldon was placed on the Midwest Transplant Network. His health continued to decline and he had to go on dialysis. After West was found, the men had the two-hour surgery on Oct. 14. The day after surgery, Sheldon felt better than he had in years.

“I was amazed how much better I felt instantly. I didn’t know I could feel that good,” Sheldon said.

The Sheldons are grateful to everyone that helped them.

“Everyone has been very nice,” said Beth. "James has a chance to watch his daughter graduate from college. Some day he’ll get to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, and we’ll get to take family vacations together."