At 6:30 a.m. Monday morning, surgeon Joseph Melanson explained to Charlie Ball, the donor, and Kenneth Walker, the recipient, how the kidney transplant was going to work.
"It's a blessing and opportunity,” Ball said. “It’s all good."
Ball's from the corporate world and lives in California; Walker lives in D.C. and is a long-time journalist for television, radio and newspaper.
"I'm deeply grateful," Walker said.
Both were members of D.C.’s Archbishop Carroll's all-male class of 1969.
Eighteen months on dialysis, Walker, needing a kidney, appealed on the class listserv for help.
"Immediately, I get this response from Charlie and you're suspicious. What's wrong with this guy?” Walker said with a laugh.
When asked if they remembered each other from high school, Walker said only “vaguely.”
“We didn’t know s--- about each other,” Ball said before laughing when he realized he cursed.
But they know each other now.
This weekend they were at Mass at Carroll High with their classmates followed by a luncheon of mostly 66-year-old men.
"We just try to be there for each other and just kind of carry that Carroll pride, the green and the gold," Mike Houle said.
The surgery took place at George Washington University Hospital.
"And I mentioned to some of my relatives, and he's a white guy," Walker said.
He said it's made a dent in what has been too much racial nastiness these days.
"And some example of humanity,” Walker said. “We really need to get back to it."
Ball said they told him they don’t normally accept donors over 60, but he's in such good physical condition, that wasn't an issue.
"I'm giving him a piece of my body,” Ball said. “It’s simple enough, God gave me two, I don’t have to wonder why.”