DENVER (CBS4) – A young father who lost part of his leg a decade ago donated one of his kidneys this year. Tyler Coleman gave a stranger a better life. In return, Tyler got fulfillment and peace of mind.
“Just a freak accident where a piece of machinery ran over my foot.” That’s how Tyler explains what happened on a construction job in 2009.
Tyler was 23. The machine was 8 tons. Every bone in Tyler’s left foot was crushed. His lower leg had to be amputated.
“It was basically wrong place, wrong time,” Tyler told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Ten years later, the 33-year-old is missing another body part. This one he gave away willingly.
“Why not? You only need the one,” he said.
On April 9, Tyler prepared to donate a kidney at the UCHealth Transplant Center. But in his mind, he’d been preparing for years.
“But I never really mentioned it to anybody,” he said.
Then, by chance, Tyler met and married Jess Johnson, a kidney transplant coordinator. He went through the process and this year, Tyler’s kidney went to a 27-year-old stranger.
“He had been on dialysis for a year and a half,” explained Tyler.
That was April. In July, the Coleman’s took son, Ryker, to his first Cubs game in Chicago, the hometown of his recipient. They met.
“It was an instant connection,” said Tyler.
Tyler offered his kidney, no strings attached. But he got peace of mind in return in the form of vouchers for Jess and Ryker that give them priority if they ever need a kidney.
“With our son being adopted … it kind of just made sense,” he said.
Tyler jokes about his amputation. He has a tattoo on his good leg that reads “One foot in the grave….”
But he is dead serious about kidney donation. His motto is “share your spare.”