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Beating the odds
Richmond Hill woman gets transplant, new lease on life
Richmond Hill First Baptist Pastor Keith Joseph with Barbara and Robert Cline - photo by Photo provided.

For a couple years now, Barbara Cline’s Sunday School class at Richmond Hill First Baptist Church has been praying and raising funds in hopes of helping Cline, who desperately needed a kidney transplant. Those prayers were recently answered.

Not only did Cline beat the odds and get the call from her doctors to receive a donor kidney, it was a match and she is now living a life free of pain and all the other complications that came with kidney failure.

"It was one of those things that you relentlessly hoped and prayed for, yet knew the reality that actually getting the call for a transplant was unlikely," said John Howell, Cline’s Sunday School teacher. "This is truly a miracle."

Cline has been on the donor list for about a year. The average wait time to even reach the top of the list is four years. Perhaps it was the tireless fundraising efforts of Cline’s church group that made the difference as, during the wait period, Cline was required to show she was making a strong effort to raise the funds for the surgery, which is estimated to cost more than $200,000.

Church group member Heidi Hunter said she talked to Cline hours before she got the phone call of the good news from her doctor.

"I asked her if there were any prospects, and she said ‘no, but it’s in God’s hands.’ She never lost hope, and it was just so wonderful to hear the good news later that day. It is a day that none of us will forget," Hunter said.

Cline had to leave immediately for Augusta to undergo surgery to receive the kidney. She said she feels blessed that she has had virtually no complications as of yet.

Cline has even taken up Sunday School teaching as she and her husband Robert now teach second graders at First Baptist. First Baptist Youth Minister Ray Fowler said she is "doing a really great job…what she has gone through is a true inspiration for the kids."

The fundraising efforts will continue as Cline is not out of the financial woods yet. The high price of the surgery compounded with anti-rejection medication that costs $2,000 per month means the church group will continue their quest to raise money for Cline.

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