STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Reagan Scott, a Mississippi State senior accounting major, decided to donate her kidney to a Louisiana State University student who needed a life-saving kidney transplant.
The Pensacola native said everything fell into place for her generous act to move forward smoothly. The experience has changed both her life and that of the recipient, Keith Fell Jr., who is also from Pensacola.
The successful surgery took place in December, but Scott now is being recognized at MSU with the Dean of Students’ Award of Excellence. The honor is bestowed on students who exemplify exceptional standards of character. The award, which honors retired Dean of Students Mike White, was created 14 years ago. Scott is only the 10th student to receive the honor.
Last fall, Scott said she saw a plea online by Fell’s mother to find a matching kidney donor. She took a short Mayo Clinic survey attached to the social media post. To her surprise, she soon got a reply saying she was a potential match.
The Mayo Clinic called to ask if she would proceed with a blood sample, which she completed at MSU’s Longest Student Health Center. The results showed she was an excellent match for Fell, who had seemed healthy throughout his childhood but unknowingly developed kidney failure.
“I talked to my parents, and at first they were very hesitant because it was all new to us,” Scott said.
Scott and Fell didn’t meet until the day before surgery, which took place at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, on December 13.
“The kidney started working before they even sewed him up in the O.R.,” Scott said of Fell’s healthy acceptance of her organ. Scott said her own recovery entailed some pain and discomfort for only about a week, and she was amazed at how quickly she felt back to normal.
“I was doing a lot better than I expected. I healed so fast, I actually moved to Memphis on Jan. 5 and started an internship the next day,” she said. “All in all, it was a lot less painful than I expected. I started working 40 hours a week during tax season and had no issues.”
Scott went on to graduate summa cum laude in May with her bachelor’s degree in accounting. In June, she became a graduate student in MSU’s Master of Professional Accountancy program. She also is a graduate assistant for the Adkerson School of Accountancy within the College of Business.
Scott said she continues to keep in close contact with Fell and his family. She said she hopes they will stay in touch “forever.”