Dan Johnson, president of the University of Toledo, wasn't the only person to want to help when he read about a gravely ill man whose children's presents were stolen along with their Christmas tree.
Dorreon L. Floyd, who has been enduring painful dialysis treatments since 2002 while waiting for a kidney transplant, arrived home Wednesday to find his 3-foot tree and presents for his 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son stolen, according to a police report.
"It's just a tragedy, really, that anyone would do something like that," said Mr. Johnson, who mailed Mr. Floyd $100 for presents. "You just hate to see stuff like that at Christmastime."
The spirit of giving defeated thievery yesterday with the gift of a tree from Duke Wheeler's Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm and some money and gifts from readers delivered to Mr. Floyd.
Larry Sykes, vice president of the Toledo Board of Education, also dropped off a gift to the house at 1134 Four Seasons Drive.
Two people called The Blade and offered to donate their kidneys to Mr. Floyd, whose daughter said she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up so she could cure her father.
He needs the kidney soon, though he wouldn't talk about his prognosis, calling it a "discouraging conversation."
Remembering her grandmother's battle with kidney disease, 21-year-old Keidra Brown offered to donate one of her kidneys after reading Mr. Floyd's story in The Blade.
Though it's improbable a random kidney would be a match, Ms. Brown said she "still wanted to try" because she watched her grandmother slowly die from kidney disease and suffer through dialysis treatments. Ms.
Brown has a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old child, she said.
"Well, I was just reading the story and it was just kind of sad. I could really just imagine the pain because my grandmother had kidney trouble," she said. "I would put my trust in the doctors that they would take care of everything and that it would be OK."
Auto parts salesman Tim Cready was overcome with a desire to donate his kidney after reading about Mr. Floyd's plight, he said. "I only need one," he said.
"This guy's got kids and life just dealt him a pretty serious blow. He's going to die soon," he said. "I'm not really all that much concerned [about the surgery]. I've heard that it's successfully done hundreds of times. I think this guy should be around for his kids."
Mr. Floyd said donors should call the Medical College of Ohio Hospitals and talk to the transplantation coordinator. The switchboard operator at the hospital said the coordinator's name is Sue Schwartz.
She was not at work on Christmas Eve.
"It's a nice thing. It's going to be OK, one way or another," Mr Floyd said of the kidney offers and his problem.
Mr. Floyd expressed gratitude and explained his checkered past, including a drug trafficking conviction in the early 1990s, as the result of "bad decisions way back." He said that he is now on the straight and narrow. Court records show he successfully completed probation by 2000.
More than just presents were stolen.
The total value of the items taken exceeded $6,700 and included cash, jewelry, a desktop computer, a DVD player, a stereo, a bag of clothes, and a box of hypodermic needles Mr. Floyd needs for his kidney treatments.
Bob Reddish, a local retired construction superintendent living in Oregon, read about Mr. Floyd's plight and said he wanted to help with some money.
"Somebody has to bring some Christmas to these people," he said. "This poor guy is on dialysis, has two kids, and somebody broke into his home and not only took his Christmas tree but his presents. So I thought maybe I could help."
Sandy Bondelier cried softly as she wondered aloud how someone could steal Christmas presents.
"I just can't read another story and not do anything," she said. "I don't understand how people can be so cruel, but I know they can. This poor guy might not be around for another Christmas. I don't understand it."
- Christopher D. Kirkpatrick