Son Suddenly Dies, Then Mom Recalls Him Saying He Doesn’t Need Both Kidneys

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

P.J. Wolf was just a few years old when he was watching a news segment. The story was about organ donation. It was in that moment that he waltzed up to his mother and made a life-changing statement.

“P.J. came in and he said, ‘You know, Mom, I’ve got two kidneys and I only need one,’” his mother, Sheila Wolf told CBS News.

When he was 8 years old, in 1991, P.J. was killed in a bicycle accident. Sheila immediately remembered what he had said about his kidney, and she knew she had to donate his organs.

“We didn’t have any doubt. We knew what this little boy wanted,” Sheila said. “We couldn’t help our baby but we could help someone else’s baby.”

As he wanted, P.J. did help another kid. Katy Portell was just 4 years old. She was born with congenital heart defects and had already endured two heart surgeries. P.J. donated a heart valve to her that saved her life.

“My entire life from that moment was a gift from my donor,” Portell says decades later.

Portell knew she had to find P.J.’s family, and it wasn’t until now that she was finally able to using old hospital records. She sent Sheila a letter.

“For some reason I always imagined my donor was older, had lived more life than that. I’m so sorry,” Portell wrote. “In your worst moment, you selflessly thought of others and that is why I’m alive today.… He is the most influential person in my life, my angel and my hero.”

Instead, Sheila wanted to thank Portell: “Don’t you ever underestimate that you are our hero. You have fulfilled my child’s dreams. How could we not be anything but proud?” Sheila said to Portell.

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