Christina Lamb and Tim Joos both know people who have suffered the pain of dialysis after kidney failure. For Lamb's husband, it lasted for two years, until a relative learned she was a match and donated.
The selfless act inspired Lamb.
"There’s no reason why I couldn't do it too," she said.
On March 11, she donated one of her kidneys to a younger man through Loyola University Medical Center's "Pay it Forward" Program.
"I feel wonderful," Lamb said. "Back to normal."
Lamb and Joos are two of the program's first donors. Three weeks ago, Joos' kidney went to a woman in Philadelphia: one of 85,000 people nationwide who need a new kidney.
"Even though I have not met my recipient, knowing that she's out there, recovering, it makes me feel real good," Joos said.
Dr. David Holt, who directs the hospital's renal transplant program, said that since "Pay it Forward" started in March, Good Samaritan donors has increased exponentially.
"Over the last two to three years, we've seen one or two Good Samaritan donors per year," Holt said. "Since the launch of this, we've had about 20 calls from people interested in becoming Good Samaritan donors."
Because the program taps into the National Kidney Registry--as opposed to just Loyola's pool of possible transplant recipients -- a single kidney donation can often trigger a chain reaction of matches nationwide.
"On average, there are about six people who could be transplanted based on that one donation," Holt said.
"Mine went to Philadelphia," Joos said. "That person's friend's went to Los Angeles, and it kept going from there, across the country."
To learn more about the Pay-It-Forward Kidney Transplant Program, call the Loyola Medicine Kidney Transplant Coordinator at 708-216-3454.
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