A woman in the Shoals is giving her dad the gift of life next week.
WAAY 31 sat down with the two on Thanksgiving to see what this upcoming holiday season means to them.
Emily Kelley and her father Donnie Roden
Donnie Roden is just days away from getting a life-changing surgery, and it's all possible because of his youngest daughter, Emily Kelley.
“It makes it hard to lay down at night and sleep," Donnie said excitedly.
“I feel like it can’t get here fast enough," said Emily.
Donnie has stage 4 kidney failure.
In less than a week, Emily is giving him the ultimate present; she's giving him a kidney.
“He’s done everything for me since I was a kid, he and my mom both, so now it’s my turn," she said. “There’s no such thing as a perfect match, but I was as close you could ever be. So, that just really proved to me that it’s meant to be.”
In 2020, Donnie was hospitalized on Thanksgiving for some time. So, 2020 was a tough year for their family.
“I lost my dad in December," said Donnie. "I couldn’t even, they let me out of the hospital to go to the funeral and I couldn’t be around anybody, and it was kind of like a fog.”
In that foggy year was the transplant surgery being postponed for over a year, getting sick with the coronavirus, getting put on dialysis, in addition to having five surgeries.
"It's been a long, long road," said Donnie.
However, they're now in the home stretch.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel because this is what we’ve worked for, and everything’s going to be alright," he said. "I’m just so excited, and I’m nervous, and I’m scared. It’s just overwhelming to know that Emily, and I’m scared because you don’t want anything to happen to your baby.”
Emily said she's always been a daddy's girl.
While her dad is feeling every emotion possible, she said she's just ready for Dec. 1.
“I’m really not nervous. I’m just really thankful to be able to do it. I never questioned it. I mean, I just want to do it," Emily cried.
The two said they're thankful to be together this Thanksgiving and to hopefully have their family together and healthy on Christmas.