Second chance at life: Kidney donor recipient out of hospital with new found bond

Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 14:33:08-05

WPTV first told you exclusively over the summer about a Palm Beach Gardens science teacher donating his kidney to a young man in need.

Thursday was the first time since that surgery that they sat down with WPTV to discuss their new found family.

It was Sept. 10. They were side-by-side, holding hands at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Bobby Seelman and Julio Vega were about to go into surgery. 

“We’re in the hospital bed and we’re laying down next to each other. We were like right next to each other,” Julio said.

“The last thing we said right before we both were knocked out was ‘I love you,’” Bobby recalled.

The Bobby, who’s 20-years-old, kidneys had been failing. He needed a new one, from a living donor with the same rare blood type, to give him a fighting chance.

Bobby went to Duncan Middle School, home of the Panthers in Palm Beach Gardens.

Julio started teaching there the year after Bobby left.

They were about to find out they had a lot more in common after Julio saw the story we did over the summer about a fellow Panther in need.

“When I went into his video and reading the article on Bobby it said that he was O+ and I said ‘oh, I’m O+,’” Julio said.

Bobby had a match.

“I was ecstatic.  I was like thank you, Jesus,” Bobby said.

For 67 days after the transplant, Bobby remained in intensive care, fighting.  Looking back, the donation from a live donor proved critical.  

Bobby hopes there are more donors out there for someone else in need.

“Never pass on the opportunity because you never know how much longer that patient is going to be here on earth for. Never pass it up,” Bobby said.

One man’s kidney is another man’s second chance at life. It’s a unique bond, with a perfect nickname.

“I’m left-handed and it came from Julio’s left side so we wanted to name it lefty,” Bobby said.

Julio has been nominated for the national Life Changer award.  If you want to help him win, comment on his profile linked here.