Kidney Donor Chain Saves Many Lives

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April is organ donation month, and it's a time to celebrate the bond created often times between total strangers.

That's the case for Sam Karadsheh. She needed a kidney transplant but had to look outside of her own family for a match.

That's when she found herself in the middle of a donor chain that started from an unknown southern state and ended with her in Michigan.

A donor gave to a recipient in South Carolina, who then had a friend or relative donate to a patient in Sacramento, and so on.

It's called the "paired donor exchange."

"It's a special kind of donor, I believe, that comes forward and says I'm willing to go out of state and heal in an unfamiliar area, people I don't know at a hospital. They are willing to do that for their loved one. I think (it) says something extra special," St. Mary's Kidney Transplant Coordinator Missy Ostapowicz said.

Karadsheh's sister will continue the chain and donate her kidney to a matching recipient.

There's no telling how long the chain could go. The longest one so far saved 26 lives.

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