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The Life-Lifter: A 60-Person Chain of Kidneys and Kindness
I don't think it's just the relocation exhaustion that made me get weepy when I read this New York Times story of Chain 124, "the longest chain of kidney transplants ever constructed, linking 30 people who were willing to give up an organ with 30 who might have died without one." The chain began with a Good Samaritan named Rick Ruzzamenti, who decided rather impulsively that he wanted to donate his kidney to someone in need. As the article reports, the donation chain's "momentum was then fueled by a mix of selflessness and self-interest among donors who gave a kidney to a stranger after learning they could not donate to a loved one because of incompatible blood types or antibodies. Their loved ones, in turn, were offered compatible kidneys as part of the exchange."
In other words, a wife who wanted to donate a kidney to her husband but couldn't because they were incompatible for whatever reason, donated a kidney to someone, and in return, her husband eventually would get a compatible kidney from someone else. The organization needed to make this whole thing work makes my head spin, but the Times site has a great interactive feature that helps explain how the swapping worked. And the article is a must-read for the story of the National Kidney Registry, which makes donation chains possible, as well as a detailed description of how the transplants happen.
I love this story for the super-charged Pay-It-Forward mentality, and for the reminder that there are people who will be this generous. But I also love it for the reminder of how interconnected our lives are. Aren't we all links in a chain of sorts? Whether it's donating a kidney or something smaller, like sharing a smile or lending a laundry card, we can all do something today to inspire someone else to be kind, too.
The last link in the chain of the 30 interconnected transplants, organ recipient Donald C. Terry said to his doctor, “'Is it going to continue? I don’t want to be the reason to stop anything.' 'No, no, no,' the doctor reassured him. 'This chain ends, but another one begins.'"
4 Small Acts of Kindness To Try Today
Stories from Oprah's Pay-It-Forward Challenge
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