I recently read a story that amazed me so much I wanted to share it with you.
It started when Rick Ruzzamenti, a New Yorker, decided to donate a kidney after hearing a story about organ donation at his local yoga studio.
One altruistic act started a chain of events that linked 60 people, including 30 kidney-transplant recipients.
You see, we only need one kidney for our body to function, yet are born with two. So this second kidney can be donated to someone whose own kidneys are failing.
A number of factors go into determining whether a kidney is eligible to be transplanted in a particular recipient, including blood type and antibodies.
In the US, it’s now possible for donors to “exchange” kidneys. If a prospective donor’s kidney doesn’t match the intended recipient, they can donate their kidney to someone else in exchange for receiving a matching kidney for their recipient.
This is where Rick came in.
He outright donated his kidney without any need for reciprocity, allowing the chain to start.
The chain continued through 59 more people, with sisters, spouses, and fifth cousins donating kidneys so that their family member could be matched.
One of the most incredible donation stories among the chain links was that of a man who donated a kidney for his ex-girlfriend, so that his 2-year old daughter wouldn’t grow up without a mother.
The advances in both medicine and technology that allowed this chain to occur are truly amazing. One of my staff has a father who had a kidney transplant 25 years ago, in the days before much of this technology was available.
At that time, kidney databases were limited in their ability to match donors with recipients. Most transplanted kidneys came from cadavers or eligible family members, causing long waits on the transplant lists when an eligible family member wasn’t available.
The way this particular chain was put together was through more altruism, this time on the part of an entrepreneur (I’ll tell you about him in my next post).
This story of altruism inspired me. Have you been inspired by altruism you’ve seen? Please leave a comment.
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