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How Birmingham’s Christine Law Provided a ‘Life-Changing Blessing’ to Someone in Need

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Christine Law donated a kidney to Jerome Skinner on Dec. 27, 2016. (Provided)

By Sym Posey | The Birmingham Times

Christine Law, Army veteran, author, model, owner of a fitness gym in Bessemer and recovering alcoholic, remembers browsing Facebook nearly seven years ago and coming across a post from Jerome Skinner, a fellow church member at Faith Chapel in Birmingham.

Law had abused alcohol for a decade before praying for help, and through her faith, prayer and action, says she was “delivered” from alcohol. Because God had spared her life, Law believed she could be a “life-changing blessing” to someone in need.

“I saw [members] praying for a kidney [for Jerome] … so I reached out,” she said.

After five months and many extensive tests, Law was found to be a perfect match. “After this, we became like family. We started going to each other’s events and family functions. [Skinner] became like my brother,” she said.

Their story is one of many being shared as Birmingham hosts the 2024 Transplant Games which have been held every two years since its inception in 1990 and aimed at uplifting and highlighting those who have survived transplant procedures.

The games bring together survivors, their families and medical professionals for a five-day event with over 20 sports and raise awareness through donors and recipients like Law and Skinner.

“I am so excited for the world to see Birmingham, Alabama shed light on transplant and organ donations,” said Law.

Jerome’s Story

Skinner, a Birmingham native and Ensley High School alum was first diagnosed with kidney failure in 2014 at age 36.

“It started with doctors telling me I had too much protein in my urine. I went to a kidney specialist, and they said I needed to cut back on protein shakes and focus on eating regular food, so I did that,” he said.

After monitoring his protein, he became a patient of a former middle school friend who was a doctor, Dr. Jamie Bell.  “First thing she told me was that my blood pressure was kind of high and she put me on some medicine.”

While at a casting call for one of Tyler Perry’s movies in Atlanta, Skinner learned he had kidney failure.

Dr. Bell left a message and told him to go to the nearest hospital. His year on dialysis was difficult, he said,

“I remember overhearing the nurses tell my family and the girl I was talking to at the time that everything was failing rapidly. Just by me overhearing that, all kinds of thoughts started running through my mind. I thought I wasn’t going to live that much longer. (And then) when you’re used to doing things on your own and now you need assistance for almost everything because you’re so weak and fragile, depending on people, it’s kind of hard when people are not used to helping you in that matter. It made me feel worse.”

On Dec. 27, 2016, just two days after Christmas, Skinner, now 43, received a gift of life, a kidney from Law.

A Calling

Law, 42, believes becoming an organ donor was a calling. “God spoke to me and said, ‘you are his donor.’ I prayed on it and then I acted on it,” she said.

“After 10 years of alcohol abuse … I should have been the one that needed an organ the way that I was going. It’s easy for people to say you don’t look like what you’ve been through. It’s more so a testimony than just saying, ‘I gave a kidney away.’ It’s deeper than that for me, it’s about overcoming the challenges in my life and then being able to bless somebody else’s life.”

As a recovering alcoholic, Law has shared her story of overcoming the disease in a number of ways.

“I was able to overcome that and decided not only to publish my book, ‘10 Years in A Bottle’ in 2019, talking about my journey to help others, but I also went as far as to get certified as a trainer.  I opened my own gym in March 2022 on 4200 Bessemer Super Highway in Bessemer [to help] people take control of their health and wellness, and I wanted to be able to tap into the community.

By sharing her experience, Law believes she will “bring awareness to [organ donation] and save lives.”

For more information about the Transplant Games of America, please visit: https://www.transplantgamesofamerica.org/