'I've always tried to help people': Gastonia officer makes live organ donations

Gastonia police officer makes live organ donations

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia police Officer Zachery Lechette gave up a kidney and more than half of his liver to save the lives of two strangers.

"I've always tried to help people -- organ donation, blood donation, bone marrow donation," Lechette said. "It just seemed like the next logical step."

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A co-worker's child needed a kidney years ago and didn't get help in time.

After that, Lechette decided he had to be that help for the next person in need.

"For me, if I had two kidneys, it meant one of them was a spare," Lechette said.

He gave a kidney four years ago knowing he may never see the person who received it.

"That didn't matter to me," Lechette said. "Just knowing that I was, perhaps, saving someone's life was enough."

The recipient was a man who wanted to meet Lechette.

"'You saved my life,'" Lechette recalled the man told him.

In March, Lechette went under the knife again giving 60% of his liver to a woman in need.

She also asked to meet him to say thank you.

"They have their lives back, and they can move on with their family and friends. Knowing I had a hand in that, is rewarding," Lechette said.

The police officer healed quickly after his life-saving donations.

"There's a part of me there with somebody else, but I don't feel like I have lost anything," he said. "I feel like I have gained a lot."