For about the past two weeks, Newberry has been "a-buzz" with the story of a woman and her boyfriend who had concocted a scheme to kill her soon to be ex husband who works at the Correctional Facility in Newberry. Even THAT part is a long story, so the condensed version is that the boyfriend (the local Fed Ex delivery guy) asked an inmate at the prison to kill this woman's hubby. The inmate told the proper authority and the scheme unfolded after much undercover work, etc and the boyfriend and the woman were arrested. They are both under $1 million bond and possible life in prison. Robert Dalgliesh, the Fed Ex driver, has kids who are now in the care of Michigan Department of Human Services. The kids were living with him and Tammy Williams (who use to work at the Newberry News).
A lot of people in Newberry, including Dan and I, knew both of these people...and cannot believe what facade a person can project....read on for the rest of the story
Kidney donation story takes bizarre turn
Michigan-Florida connection saves life, but story doesn't end there
PETOSKEY (WJRT) - (11/22/06)--What started as the amazing story of a Michigan woman willing to donate a kidney to a stranger has taken a more amazing turn.
That same woman now stands accused of trying to hire someone to murder her husband. In fact, as this story airs, she is sitting in jail in the Upper Peninsula.
The story that originally caught attention was someone's willingness to donate an organ to a person she learned about online through a Web site that's both life-saving and controversial.
My daughter Chantal has a desperate need for a kidney and pancreas," recalled Tammy Williams, who read a mother's plea on matchingdonors.com.
From her home in Petoskey, Mich., Williams read the message. The writer was Joan Smith in Deland, Fla., whose grown daughter, Chantal Adamson, had no kidneys and relied on dialysis.
"She has to get on the machine and stay on there for four and a half hours -- three days a week -- in order to survive," Smith said. "Without it, she would die."
Two women 1,400 miles apart connected through a Web site started by Paul Dooley of Boston after the death of his father.
"During the time when he had cancer, the doctor said, 'Different things are shutting down in your body, one of them is your kidney, and we'll have to see if you can get on a list to get a new kidney,'" Dooley said.
"They came back a few weeks later and said, 'The list is seven or eight years long.'"
That prompted Dooley and his friend to start matchingdonors.com.
"We're allowing patients or people who need organ transplants an active way to find an organ donor instead of just passively sitting and waiting for years potentially, or waiting until they die to find an organ from the national list," said Dr. Jeremiah Lowney.
"Some years ago, most of us would have found it unappealing," said Dr. Jay Wolfson.
"We would have said, 'Eeew, that's kind of tacky.' But the fact is, the Internet has become more of a resource for many of us in our daily lives that we couldn't have imagined years ago."
Among the concerns about sites like matchingdonors.com: line jumping and fraud.
"We don't interfere with the current system because we're bringing new people into the system," Lowney said.
"We're bringing live organ donors into the system where the current list deals with post mortem or cadaver organs."
"We ask for a membership fee," Dooley said. "If someone can afford it, they pay. If they can't afford it, they don't pay. More than 70 percent of the people on the site are free."
It is illegal to benefit financially from organ donation, which means people cannot be paid to donate. When it comes to the surgery itself ...
"It's completely up to the transplant centers to follow their own rules, protocols and regulations on whether that surgery takes place," Lowney said.
"They do their own preoperative psychiatric and medical evaluations If we do help with creating a match that goes on to surgery it's fantastic."
Through cyberspace, a personal connection was made between Smith and her daughter in Florida, and Williams in northern Michigan.
But how could a woman willing to donate a kidney also be accused of trying to hire someone to kill her husband?
That's the question that was asked after learning that Williams and her fiancee are in jail in the Upper Peninsula, charged with "solicitation to commit murder."
Michigan State Police say Williams and Robert Dalgliesh tried to hire an inmate at the Newberry Correctional Facility to kill Williams' husband, who works as a corrections officer there.
The motive: Financial gain if the husband's death occurred before his divorce from Williams was final. Both suspects are due back in court in December.
"I can feel the desperation," Williams recalled. "I can't not help her. I'm O negative blood which is a match. I'm healthy, so why not?"
"It used to be that you had to be related by blood to your recipient in order to donate a kidney and that's changed dramatically to the point now that people meet on the Internet and decide they want to donate a kidney to someone they don't know, which is an extraordinary development," said Dr. Robert Montgomery.
Smith met the Michigan woman who saved her daughter's life.
"Tammy!" she shouted. "Oh God, I'm so happy to see Tammy. Hey girl! Oh, I'm so happy to see you. I'm so happy to see you. Oh, thank God you're here."
"I told you I'd come," Williams said.
After months of talking by e-mail and phone, the women met for the first time in Baltimore, Md., where Adamson was being prepped for surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Williams learned about Adamson through matchingdonors.com when a press release about the site arrived at the Newberry News where she used to work.
She checked out the site that matches people in need of an organ with a living donor.
Compelled to help a stranger, Williams left her shoreline community on Lake Michigan to go to the East Coast city of Baltimore and Johns Hopkins, where Adamson's life was on the line.
"We're in the midst of a crisis in organ transplantation and people are trying to get their stories out any way that they can," Montgomery said.
Would you consider donating a kidney or a part of your pancreas, liver or lung to a complete stranger? Many people answer this question with a resounding "yes."
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