Kidney donors and the recipients meet for the first time
PHOENIX - This the Paired Kidney Exchange Program.
It's a chain reaction, one person donates a kidney and from there it has a domino effect. Doctors at the Banner University Medicine Transplant Institute in Phoenix say this method is a faster way to help more people in need.
Six people met Wednesday for the first time, who are forever connected. It all started with Robert Garcia when he decided to donate a kidney to give to a complete stranger.
"It's amazing to think just one decision can affect so many lives," he said. That stranger is Brian Boucher.
His nephew, Shawn Boucher, tried to donate to his uncle but wasn't a match, so his kidney went to Daniel Whiterell. His father David Whiterell also tried to donate to his son, but he too wasn't a match for him, so his kidney went to Pamela Kostakos.
"I can't be thankful enough," Kostakos said. "What they did is just fantastic."
Before Whiterell's transplant, he was on dialysis for nearly 2 years for 9 hours a night.
Now, he's thankful to be living a normal life all thanks to his donor, and his father is also grateful to be involved in this life-saving chain reaction.
All 6 of these people had their surgery on the same day, Oct. 23 of last year. They're doing well and feeling great, especially now after meeting each other.