Barbara Ryder, 59, a nurse, is a much celebrated personality in Britain now. Her claim to reputation, she donated one of her kidneys to a total stranger, 68-year-old Andy Loudon, a carpenter.
The meeting between the donor and recipient a couple of days ago was a major media event.
The Telegraph wrote almost lyrically:"In an anonymous wood-panelled dining room at a London hotel, two strangers shared a quiet but emotional embrace.
Unable to find words to express his gratitude to the Good Samaritan whose act of extraordinary generosity had transformed his life, moist-eyed Andy Loudon simply reached out to give her a warm hug.
An hour later Barbara Ryder and Mr Loudon became the first altruistic stranger donor and recipient to speak publicly about their experience."
BBC quoted her as saying, "The kidney was literally a spare part and I thought 'good, at last I can do something physically useful'."
She added: "What prompted me to donate my kidney was that I heard something on the radio about dialysis and how ghastly it was."
Ryder then spoke to a living donor coordinator at the hospital, who said it would be possible.
This is called altruistic donation as the donor and the recipient have not met previously.
Paired donation is when a donor and recipient whose blood groups or tissue types are incompatible are paired with another donor and recipient in the same situation.
Until September 2006 living donors were allowed to give kidneys only to those genetically linked, or related through marriage.
But the Human Tissue Act (HTA) legislation changed all that.
Only under the regulations unrelated donors and recipients are not allowed to meet before their operations to ensure no form of coercion or financial motivation plays a role in the exchange.
Ryder went in for the operation on 18 September, but was eager to get home to look after her menagerie of rescue cats and dogs.
Although it takes 10 days for the wound to knit together she was back walking her pet dogs after a week.
Describing how she felt Ryder said: "The feeling you get is better than the feeling you get at Christmas. It's just the joy of giving. "
Until the operation in September Loudon had to have dialysis involving three visits to hospital per week for two years.
Along with other kidney patients, he was unable to eat leafy vegetables, most fruit and potatoes, regularly felt tired and unwell and was unable to go on long trips to visit friends and family members.
The new kidney now allows him to travel and visit his daughter in Scotland, something he has not been able to do before.
Loudon said: "The fact that the organ came from a living donor has made a big difference. The kidney worked straight away.
"I feel honoured and it restores my faith in human nature. It's difficult to put into words.
Loudon's wife Hilary, 62, wrote a letter to Ryder thanking her for what she had done.
Speaking at the Science Media Centre, Ryder said: "You get a lot of fun and happiness from giving something that can change a life.
"I heard something on the radio about people waiting for kidney transplants about three years ago, and I thought it was something I could do.
"I don't want people to think I'm seeking publicity. I want to encourage people to come forward for organ donation because there is such a shortage."
Around a third of potential family or partner donors are ruled out because of blood group or immune system incompatibility.
Last year 2,130 kidney transplant operation were carried out in the country.
There are currently just over 7,600 people in the UK on the organ transplant waiting list.
The kidneys of people with renal failure no longer clean out unwanted waste products and water from the blood.
They have to undergo regular dialysis with their blood either being cleaned in an external machine or fluid being flushed through a catheter.
Since Ryder-Loudon transplant a third stranger donation has been carried out and a fourth will take place in the New Year.
Shirley Harrison, Chairman of the HTA, said: "This is a truly selfless act and a magnificent gift.
"I'm delighted that she and Andy have gone public so that people can see what it means to donate an organ in this way."
A kidney donor is estimated to have a risk of between one in 2,000 and one in 3,000 of dying as a result of the operation, and around a one per cent chance of a complication serious enough to require an extended hospital stay.