Lakeland PD sergeant donates kidney to partner's son

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When you're in trouble, you never know how close life-saving help can be.

At 20 years old, Felix Hathcock was told by doctors he needed a kidney transplant, but he had no idea his savior was already in his life.

A disease was sapping Hathcock's strength. It was getting harder and harder to carry on with his daily routine. 

"I had to sleep all the time," he told FOX 13. "Even when I took a nap."

So the search for a kidney donor was launched. It can take years to find one. Some people never do.

His immediate family did not qualify to be tested because of medical problems.

On a lark, his mom Tammy Hathcock, a detective at the Lakeland Police Department, asked her longtime friend, Sgt. Mark Eby, to be tested.

He was a match.

"I was a little surprised, but a little excited too," Eby told FOX 13. "Maybe a lot excited."

The operation at Tampa General last month went smoothly.

"There is nothing that will ever be able to repay, or I could say or do," Tammy said through tears. "For helping my family and my son with this amazing gift."

Eby hopes something tangible will happen as a result of what he did.

"When other people look at this... You hope to inspire them or motivate them to maybe do the same," he said.