Terrell Potter and Jocelynn James were not friends, even though they had more than one run in after a wild night. See, Terrell is a police officer in Phil Campbell. Jocelynn fought an opioid addiction that landed her in jail a few times — 16 times, to be exact — usually at Terrell’s hands. 

“She was constantly being in trouble,” Terrell said. “Stealing, doing drugs and just those types of things.” 

At one point, she even made it onto Alabama’s Most Wanted list as one of the top drug abusers. During her worst period, she injected drugs into her blood more than 16 times a day. Over and over, Jocelynn got high and Terrell arrested her, until one day enough was enough and Jocelynn decided to get sober. 

That was eight years ago. 

“I literally asked God to please take that urge away from me and on March 18, He delivered me,” Jocelynn said. “I promise you, I have not thought about getting high since.” 

Over the years, Jocelynn and Terrell kept in touch and he became something of a mentor for the former addict. Last December, Terrell learned his kidney was failing — only operating at five percent — and he would need a transplant. There was one problem: The wait list was eight years long. 

Terrell was optimistic, though, and he didn’t think he would have to wait that long. He was right. 

Jocelynn saw his plea for a new kidney on Facebook and ran to get tested. 

“The Holy Spirit told me, ‘You got that man’s kidney,’” Jocelynn said. “I knew right then that I had his kidney.”

She was a match. Even though the odds of an unrelated donor matching for a kidney transplant are one in 100,000, Jocelynn was a match. 

“It’s not a coincidence, it’s just God,” Terrell said.

Jocelynn and Terrell only lived two miles apart, so arranging travel for the transplant wasn’t a problem. 

The transplant took place at Vanderbilt University, and Terrell’s new-to-him kidney immediately started functioning better than anyone could have expected. Jocelynn never had a father figure in her life, and Terrell has two daughters. Jocelynn fits right into their family as a third daughter, and now they’re even connected biologically. 

Originally published in Community Journal.

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