Vancleave woman inspired by WLOX report also donating kidney to a stranger

‘...I thought, I can do that too!’
Updated: Jun. 14, 2019 at 8:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A Vancleave woman will travel nearly 800 miles this month to help a man she’s only met once. The idea was sparked from a WLOX report six months ago.

Anna Cannington and Leilani Crocker met for the first time Friday, though Cannington will tell you Crocker is her inspiration for an upcoming trip.

“I saw the news story that aired in early January about her kidney donation," Cannington said. “As soon as I saw it I recognized that was something that was meant for me to do.”

In a January WLOX report, we told you Crocker was scheduled to donate a kidney to a woman she had never met named Donnie. Donnie’s husband grabs breakfast every single morning at Wayne Lee’s, where Crocker works. Months after meeting, Crocker and Donnie had their surgeries on April 8.

“It was nerve wracking but exciting at the same time. Just knowing that I’m fixing to help her out and extend her life, it was a blessing," Crocker recalled.

Two days in the hospital and two months later, Crocker said she’s back to normal. Now she and Cannington are swapping stories over lunch at Wayne Lee’s. Cannington is taking in what she’s about to experience.

“I was healthy and knew someone in my community that needed a kidney," Cannington said.

In 10 days, she will hop on a flight to Oklahoma City to donate a kidney to 43-year old Dustin Rippetoe. He was diagnosed with Berger’s disease in 2007 and has been actively searching for a donor.

“He’s a member of my strength training community called StrongFirst. We teach people how to get strong with kettlebells, barbells, body weight, strength training. He’s an instructor also with StrongFirst, and we had a lot of mutual friends," Cannington said.

For her, she’s more excited than nervous for the trip.

“It’s great to meet somebody who’s been through it before and looking great and looking healthy. We can make it on one kidney, right?" Cannington said.

Cannington will spend two and a half weeks in Oklahoma City for the surgery before heading back home to Vancleave.

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