Act of Kindness Years Ago Returned With a Kidney Transplant

March 7, 2012

The following story is from Eyewitness News 9 in New Bern, NC:

It has been called a miracle. A couple took in a stranger and more than 20 years later that stranger would save one of of their lives.

Mikie and Rita Casem were living in Washington D.C. in 1979 when their priest told them about a teenage girl who was pregnant and had nowhere to go.

Mickie remembers what the priest told him when the couple decided to take in Theresa Palumbo.

"When we told Father Wells we were going to take Theresa in, he looked me in the eye and said 'you'll never regret this'," he said. Casem says Theresa became a member of the family in the time she stayed with them.

"The whole seven months that she was there, she just literally poured out her heart to us and shared openly with us just as if she was one of our children," he said.

Theresa Palumbo went on to have a son named Jonathan. She went to college and later married Jonathan's father, Jeff.

The Casem's retired to New Bern but they stayed in touch over the years. During a recent phone call in 2010 Mikie told Theresa one of his kidneys was failing. Mikie had a number of willing donors, but none of them were compatible. Theresa however, was a perfect match.

After months of tests and doctors visits, the transplant happened on February second.

"They took the staples out of my scar and each visit, I get a little more free reign. I still have to take it easy. Today, three and a half weeks out of surgery, I'm walking a half a mile," he explained.

And he owes it all to Theresa Palumbo.

Mikie Casem is nearly finished with a book he's writing about his experience. It will be titled "Circle of Grace." He hopes to have it published later this year.