One Selfless Donation Saves 3 Lives - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

One Selfless Donation Saves 3 Lives

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All it takes is one person to make a totally selfless decision. A stranger ... Who says they want to donate one of their healthy kidneys to someone who needs one. The chain of events that follows....can save countless lives.  

46-year old Martha Shuberg has been battling kidney disease her entire life.  "I was at the doctors or dialysis all the time", she said.  She just received her 3rd kidney transplant, thank's to a program that could be dubbed the "Pay It Forward" kidney transplant program at UTMC. It's run by transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Rees.  "A nice person can come forward, and because of their gift, giving a complete stranger their kidney, now you can create a chain of pay it forward transplants," said Dr. Rees. 

Here's how Martha's transplant chain started.  A woman in Maine volunteered to donate one of her healthy kidney's to anyone who needed it.  It's called an altruistic donation. The woman in Maine turned out to be a match for a man in Connecticut.  Her kidney went to him.  In the meantime, the father of the man in Connecticut had been tested to see if he could donate one of his kidney's to his son.  He wasn't a match for him, but he was a perfect match for Martha Shulberg in Toledo.  So his kidney went to Martha.  Martha's nephew Jeff, had been tested to see if he could donate a kidney to her.  While he wasn't a match for Martha, he was for a man in Maine, so he donated his kidney to him.  3 states, 3 kidney's, 3 lives saved!

"In order for the chain to be built, you have to have people who just want to donate a healthy kidney to someone who needs it, " Dr. Rees says.  "I've seen a chain of donations that saved 32 lives once." "Technically, there doesn't have to be an end to it, if the chain remains unbroken by someone who backs out." according to Dr. Rees.  "I'd go so far as to call it the never ending transplant."

6 weeks after their transplant surgeries, Martha and her nephew Jeff are doing great "How do you thank somebody who got you off dialysis and changed your life," says Martha.  Chances are it's a whole lot easier than the way it all worked out!

 

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