Donating a Kidney to a Complete Stranger

I sat at dinner with some friends a few years back, actually friends of my husband that I met through him, and the husband told his tale of needing a kidney transplant.  He had had a family member donate a kidney only for the transplant to be botched during the transplant.  What a waste, not only for my friend, but also for the living donor who didn't get to see her selfless donation be wasted.  He later did get another successful transplant and is doing well. I remember sitting there at dinner thinking about how I wish I could get to the place in life to donate a kidney to someone, to totally revolutionize their life.  It is a huge undertaking, one that I cannot quite get to.  Wonder if I need both?  Wonder if one of my children or husband need a kidney in the future?  (Though I'm the only one in my family of four with my bloodtype...).

U.S. woman's altruism starts chain of five kidney swaps, extending lives

"I'm not losing nothing," Honica Brittman said this week, sitting in a blue and white hospital gown before surgery in which she would give, for free, the initial kidney in a chain of five kidney transplants at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

"To actually help somebody live a little bit, a lot longer, that's an awesome thing," she said.

The series of operation on Wednesday and Thursday, which required 10 separate surgical teams and weeks of coordination, was made up of a series of swaps within a group of men and women between the ages of 23 and 68 and with compatible blood types, all motivated by a mix of compassion and commitment to their loved ones.

The chain started with Brittman, who donated a kidney to a 39-year-old television producer whose fiancée and partner of more than 10 years donated to a businessman from upstate New York.

In turn, the businessman's son, a college-age student who felt that for being healthy and the youngest of four sons, he should step up on behalf of his father and donate one of his kidneys to another young man, a 23-year-old originally from Haiti.

His father then donated to a retired teacher from New Jersey.

Can you imagine the lives that would be changed setting off a chain like this?  I have thought about it.  I wonder if there is a special place on the transplant list if something were to happen with your remaining kidney that would make it worth your while?

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