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Radio show helped spark woman’s decision to donate

Aug. 6, 2015, 8:47 AM

Misty Roberts gets a hug from Christian musician Scott MacIntyre, who received the kidney that Roberts donated earlier this summer. (photo by Joe Howell)

Misty Roberts routinely tunes into three Christian radio stations and has a habit of switching from one to another when the chatter begins.

But one day last fall she didn’t touch the dial during a segment about the thousands of people waiting for life-saving kidney transplants.

The featured artist was Christian musician Scott MacIntyre, an American Idol finalist from Season 8.

“I remember catching the tail end of the show,” said Roberts. “I stayed on there long enough to hear his name.”

“I looked him up because I wanted to know more about his music and he was really all about community,” she said. “As I read up on him I found out he needed a kidney.”

Roberts was intrigued. She remembered hoping MacIntyre would find a kidney donor.
And she was still thinking about it three days later.

“When something keeps nibbling at you, you don’t just ignore it.”

The first person Roberts, 27, told about her desire to donate a kidney was one of her sisters. As a mother of three, she needed to secure a babysitter before moving forward with the process. Recovery could take up to six weeks.

Organ donor Misty Roberts and her boyfriend, Cody Bartley, talk with kidney recipient Scott MacIntyre and his wife, Christina, during a recent follow-up visit at Vanderbilt. (photo by Joe Howell)

“I’d decided that if I wasn’t a match for Scott, then someone could use my kidney,” Roberts said.
In June she underwent surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to remove one of her healthy kidneys to be transplanted into MacIntyre.

Recently both patients returned to Vanderbilt for follow-up appointments and to meet.

“You saved my life,” MacIntyre said giving Roberts a hug within minutes of meeting.

“I wasn’t sure how to feel. It all seemed so surreal since there was no point of reference. It wasn’t personal until now,” he said. “I came into this not knowing what to feel except complete gratitude.”

This was the second kidney transplant for 30-year-old MacIntyre, who was diagnosed in his late teens with kidney failure.

The radio segment Roberts caught was part of MacIntyre’s work to raise awareness about kidney donation. He also shared his own journey with kidney disease.

“I had done a lot of interviews letting people know that I was only one of 100,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant,” he said. “It was really about the overall need, but I also shared my story. It was interesting because people like Misty responded.”

MacIntyre released his newest single, “Remarkable,” on July 21.

Roberts has since returned to work and is enjoying getting back to a regular routine with her family.

“This has been a great teaching moment for my children,” she said. “Our family has always known the value of giving back, but this really helps them see it. We have always tried to help out when and where we can.

“It feels really good to help someone,” Roberts said, smiling. “But I hope people know that it doesn’t have to be something big for you to feel like that.”

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