Caloosa Belle

Inspiring LaBelle – Sweetman gives a kidney

Louis Flaim and Sue Sweetman. (Submitted photo)

I love stories that deal with the triumph of the human spirit and I was lucky enough to talk to a woman who has lived out such a story, recently, making this year the best New Year for her fellow man.

Sue Sweetman, of LaBelle, met Louis (Lou) Flaim only about ten months ago on the way out of a church service at East Side Baptist Church. They introduced themselves and had a little joke about the fact that Lou’s last name was Flaim and that Sweetman is a firefighter, and they became quick friends.

Lou, Sue would soon discover, was in need of a kidney due to a condition that he had been living with and he had had a donor lined up but at the last minute things fell through with that donor leaving him still seeking a kidney.

Sue’s twin sister, Andrea Hahn, immediately started the screening process to see if her kidney was a possible match for Flaim. The process is quite rigorous and thorough and when an x-ray revealed something that would delay the donation process Sue stepped in to offer her own kidney.

“I had been thinking of donating from the beginning, but when I found out my twin sister had started the process, I didn’t pursue it because the screening process is rather expensive for the recipient,” Sue said.

It turned out that Sue’s kidney was indeed a match for Flaim and the surgery was successfully performed on December 21, 2017 making for a very Merry Christmas for both Lou and Sue!

“I like to say it’s more blessed to give than to receive, which Lou would argue with, but I think I’ve been blessed more than he has,” says Sweetman.

“I just think it’s great that God knew from the beginning that my kidney was going to be given to Lou. We all have a purpose for being here and I’m just so grateful and thankful that I had a strong body and was able to do this,” she added.