After spending three years on dialysis, Janet Sue Gray finally got a kidney transplant on Valentine’s Day. But it wasn’t easy for her to find a donor match. She was on donor lists for years and even after her son’s friend, Sarah Birdenbaugh, offered to be a donor, she wasn’t a match.
But they found out they could do a paired donation or a “kidney swap” which happens when a donor is incompatible with the person they want to donate to, so an exchange is set up with another donor/recipient pair. In this case, 14 people were involved in the live kidney donation chain, all strangers, and it helped seven people’s lives.
"It's the sweetest thing, because these people such as Sarah just really don’t think it’s that big of a deal, and it’s such a big deal," Gray explains. "It’s such a big deal."