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4-Way ‘Circle of Life’ for Kidney Donation

4-Way ‘Circle of Life’ for Kidney Donation

What if you could save a friend or family member’s life by donating a kidney, despite the fact that you’re not a match for them?

A new computer algorithm called Silverstone Matchgrid is making multi-way kidney donations a reality. The program, currently in use at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, takes incompatible patient-donor pairs and matches them with other hopeful donors and patients in need. This process of paired donation lets your kidney donation save a complete stranger, while a better-matched donor gives their organ to your friend.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes the story of four donors and four recipients, who met one another for the first time after their life-giving/saving surgeries:

“Three weeks into their recovery, the donors and recipients hugged, wiped away tears and exchanged stories.

While [David] Brady ended up giving his kidney to [Toby] Cooling, he had initially offered it to longtime friend Reagan Eilers, who had been on and off dialysis for three years. But the men, who live south of Carson City, Nev., were incompatible.

On the day of the surgery, which was also his 57th birthday, Eilers received a kidney from Santa Rosa resident Monterey Morrissey, who had decided to donate because his wife, Bonnie, had a disease that formed cysts in her kidneys. Although they were compatible, they were better matches for other people.

“I didn’t think I’d get emotional about it, but I absolutely did. It’s such a moving thing you’re doing for each other,” said Bonnie Morrissey, 61, a freelance photographer. She received a kidney from Gilbert Abeyta, 40, of Newman (Stanislaus County).

Abeyta’s wife got a kidney from Toby Cooling’s wife – and the circle was complete.”


Would you give a kidney to a stranger if it meant saving your loved one’s life? What do you think of the potential uses of this complex technology? Tell us in the comments!


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9:33PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

(continued comment from below)

...maybe you would profit by watching less television.

It is also clear you have not done your research for how opinionated you are. Research shows that the life expectancy of the kidney donor does not change. As the daughter of one of the donors, who OFFERED his kidney without being asked for one, I have seen him come out of surgery with practically no recovery time, and is healthier than ever.

I hope you seriously re-evaluate your comment; can you tell me that if your husband, best friend, or brother was in constant suffering, and close to dying at a young age, you would say, "no thank you, I don't want to give you my kidney, that's cannibalism".

Please get a college degree, thank you.

9:30PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

In response to @Elizabeth K comment (repeated below)

Elizabeth K says: "Organs transfers, whether direct or under the method described, are a crime against nature, a form of cannibalism. No one is entitled to two lives! What happens to the donor when his or her remaining kidney goes kapoot? Also, living with one kidney is okay at first, but as you age, you become unnaturally weak. It's TRUE"


There are so many things wrong with your statement that make me question if you even graduated from elementary school. As there is an existing definition that describes 'cannibalism' as vaguely as: "the removal of parts, equipment, assets, or employees from one product, item, or business in order to use them in another." (notice, this definition says nothing about humans). As Katy E. describes, this would be a definition NOT used in the 21st century, which YOU exist in. I have provided you the definition below, since it is clear you are speaking from a place of ignorance.

cannibalism (ˈkænɪbəˌlɪzəm)
— n
1. the act of eating human flesh or the flesh of one's own kind.

Also, no one here is "living two lives". They are provided with a gift from a close friend to continue living their one and ONLY life without constant pain and misery, which effects more than just that immediate individual (ie, friends, children, parents). Humans ARE NOT CATS you watch in cartoons that "have nine lives", maybe you would pro

5:39PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

@Elizabeth K.- for a BRIEF period of history (1790-1800) your interpretation of cannibalism in this situation could be correct; however the definition in the dictionary during this time is EXTREMELY vague. I agree with Mari G. Just Stop.

This is an absolute wonderful story....MY DAD was one who received a kidney and was gifted with a second chance at life and DESEERVES it. He is an amazing man and did nothing wrong to have the disease he had. He has his old life back (living on dialysis is not a way of life) and can now walk me down the aisle at my upcoming wedding. As for the donor, if something were to ever happen to their kidney, they are automatically put at the top of the kidney list because of their donation. Their kidney actually grows up to 1.5 times the size to make up for only having one kidney and will continue to live a strong and healthy life. You only need one kidney for your body to function properly to have a long and healthy life.

@Gianna M.- Extensive research and background checks are done on the donors and doneness prior to any transplant taking place. Anyone who is willing to give up a kidney to a loved one has a HUGE heart and wouldn’t be an abuser or criminal. There are good people in the world and this story proves it. If you were ever faced in this position with a family member or loved one, I hope you reconsider your position on this.

Thank you to all those positive comments out there!! This has changed my family

7:05PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Elizabeth K, I hope you or someone you love needs an organ transfer one day, mostly for not understanding the term "cannibalism". Just stop.

I am an organ donar and don't mind donating if it means helping someone. We only need one kidney to live, so why not? Would be great though is one day we can use stem cells or cloning technology to create lab organs. Sad part, people would still have difficulities getting an organ, even if it could easily be syntheized in a lab.

5:01PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

I have one and 3/4ths kidney so I can't do this. Hope people will tho who can.

3:57PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Organs transfers, whether direct or under the method described, are a crime against nature, a form of cannibalism. No one is entitled to two lives! What happens to the donor when his or her remaining kidney goes kapoot? Also, living with one kidney is okay at first, but as you age, you become unnaturally weak. It's TRUE.

4:03AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:11AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012


8:35PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012


6:54PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

This is really great. Thanks for posting.

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