Chain of Life

Chain of Life

Six healthy people donate kidneys to six people they've never met before in the largest pay-it-forward exchange of its kind. (Star-Ledger)

More than 500,000 Americans require dialysis or kidney transplant to stay alive. While living donor transplant surgery is very successful, people often wait for a kidney for years and thousands die waiting every year.

Kidney chains are a recent phenomenon designed to overcome this long-standing problem in renal transplantation. The National Kidney Registry keeps lists of altruistic donors and incompatible pairs – donors who are not a proper match with their loved one. In a kidney chain a donor agrees to give a kidney to a stranger so that a relative or loved one can receive a transplant in return.

This inspiring story by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger follows the National Kidney Registry’s first six-way chain – six healthy people donated kidneys and six people in need received one. Two of the donors were altruistic donors – people who simply want to help out. The remaining four donors had family members in need of a kidney — a mother, a wife, a son and a nephew.

This story was first published as a three- part multimedia series by the Star-Ledger. It is presented here in its entirety.

Tech note: Shot on the Canon 5D Mark II in HD.

CHANNEL: The Star-Ledger

Length: 17:13

Video by John O’Boyle
Story by Amy Ellis Nutt
Editing by Bumper DeJesus, John O’Boyle & Seth Siditsky