A 35-year old North Carolina resident's decision to donate her kidney to a stranger kick started a chain of kidney donations which saved five lives.
Honica Brittman, a mother of four, decided to donate her kidney for free to a stranger after she found out that she was unable to donate it to a family friend as she was not compatible. Her kidney was transplanted in New York's Adam Abernathy, both of whose kidneys were functioning only at five percent.
Abernathy's life partner, David Ferguson was willing to donate his kidney as he was a universal match and would be compatible with anyone. Ferguson was willing to donate his kidney to Adam but instead decided to donate it for another person who was looking for a specific blood type.
Ferguson's kidney was donated to a businessman in New York while the businessman's son donated his kidney to a 23-year old man from Haiti whose father in turn donated his kidney to a retired teacher from New Jersey.
Dr Lloyd Ratner, who is the director of renal and pancreatic transplantation at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, said that Brittman's act of altruism started a cycle that saved five lives. "That set off a chain of events where we were able to use a person who is a universal donor to give to someone who could only receive a blood group O kidney. And then we matched the ages of the recipients, as well as the blood types, with the donor and we resulted in five transplants plus someone who didn't have a donor on our waiting list getting a kidney as well", he said.