Nine donors got to meet the nine people who received their kidneys Thursday during the largest living kidney donor chain in Nebraska history at the Nebraska Medical Center.
It was the first time that they met face to face. All nine transplants happened from February 27-March 3.
Many of the patients wanted to donate to a friend or family member but were matched to others on a “Board of Hope”.
“Donating a kidney is one of the most courageous and noble acts a person can do. Sitting among all of you are 9 superheroes willing to donate a kidney to someone they had never met, knowing only that their friend or family member would receive a kidney in return,” said Dr. Arika Hoffman, an NMC Transplant Surgeon.
The youngest recipient, 5-year-old Andy Aranda, concluded the chain and got to meet his donor Thursday. His father says he’s needed a new kidney since he was 2-months-old.
He loves superheroes and riding bikes. Now, he knows a real life superhero, his donor, Tyler Sturgeon of Cozad, NE.
“People like Tyler he shared his life and his organs for another person it’s a miracle,” said Jesus Aranda, Andy’s father.
Sturgeon signed up to donate to his close friend, Ricky Love, but is excited to know his friend will live longer and so will the vibrant 5-year-old.
“I was happy. That’s two people better than one. So I was like part of the exchange absolutely sign me up for it, and being part of nine makes it even a little more exciting,” Sturgeon explained.
Previously the largest living-donor kidney chain at NMC was between three people in 2016.