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Darrell and John: A friend becomes family

John and Darrell (wearing baseball hat) smiling. Water and dock in the background

10 hours a day, seven days a week, Darrell Smith’s life stretched no further than 20 feet.

10 hours a day, seven days a week, tethered to the dialysis machine that was keeping him alive, there was no staying late at his daughter’s dance performances. No mowing the lawn in the cool of a summer evening. No lingering after dinner with his family in the living room.

It was, said his wife Yolanda, like her husband’s life was yoked to a 20-foot leash.

rear view of John and Darrell walking up hill in wooded area

John and Darrell are linked for life

Darrell and John Dorroh had been state police academy classmates. Over the years, the two would catch up when they ran into each other in the aisles of the local Lowe’s.

Side-by-side portraits: Darrell wearing baseball hat and smiling. John looking directing at camera.

Darrell and John were police academy classmates.

When John learned that Darrell needed a kidney, he knew right away: he wanted to help.

On a spring day, in the season of new life, John shared the news: he was a perfect match for Darrell.

And when John became Darrell’s living donor, he gave more than a kidney to his friend.

Rear view of Darrell and John sitting in car and talking

He gave Darrell those summer evenings. He gave Darrell the dance recitals. He gave Darrell swimming in the pool, backyard cookouts, movie dates with Yolanda.

How can you put into words, says Darrell, when someone’s just saved your life?

“He’s a brother now,” says Darrell. “He’s family.”


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