An Alabama woman who turned her life around after a drug addiction and a series of arrests recently saved the life of one of her arresting officers by donating him a kidney.
Jocelynn James spent years in and out of jail, and landed herself on a local most wanted list after being handcuffed 16 times between 2007 and 2012, according to KTBC.
More than once, her arresting officer was Terrell Potter, a former cop with the Phil Campbell Police Department.
“I didn’t care about anything in life, and who I wronged,” James told NBC News. “Robbery, theft, receiving property… Everything but murder, pretty much.”
James said she hit rock bottom nearly a decade ago, and managed to turn things around; in November, she’ll celebrate eight years out of jail, and eight years sober, KTBC reported.
“I’m very thankful to be alive,” she told NBC affiliate WVTM. “Because I should be dead.”
With the desire to get back on track, James spent the next few years rebuilding her life – and in December, stumbled upon a fateful Facebook post from Potter’s daughter that would set her next chapter in motion.
Potter, now retired, had recently learned that his kidney was failing, and though he was actively searching for a donor, had been warned by doctors that his hunt could take up to seven or eight years, KTBC reported.
When James discovered this — and later found she was a perfect match for Potter — committing to giving him her kidney was a no-brainer.
“I just knew that it said he needed a kidney, and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney,” James told NBC News.
She and Potter underwent a successful transplant surgery on July 21, and now, he has more than a new kidney — he has family in James.
“It’s like she’s another daughter. I mean, she’s just a part of us,” he told NBC News, adding to KTBC: “It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There’s no doubt about that.”
James, who runs a nonprofit that helps women seek treatment called The Place of Grace, says her goal is to remind others that hope is never lost, even in the darkest times.
“I want people to realize that there is help out there for them. It doesn’t matter what happens in your life,” she told KTBC. “You can always turn it around."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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