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A stranger pays it forward to save a life
At 37-years-old, Kenneth Burrage was told he needed a new kidney.
A healthy kidney is about the size of a fist; Burrages were as big as a gallon of milk and were 10 pounds each.
After a year on the donor list, Burrage made a Facebook page hoping to find a donor.
We made a page and Nancy came about through a friend of a friend of a friend, says Burrage.
Im at the point in my life that Im healthy and I just wanted to give forward in a different way, says Nancy Currie.
But Currie wasnt a match. So they became a part of the Paired Exchange Program at UR Medicines Strong Memorial Hospital.
Where is nationally based program, says Doctor Orloff. There are two of them now in the country and a large exchange of donors and recipients occurs such that we can get better matches.
First they searched for a recipient for Currie and a match for Burrage. But nobody can be left out and it often takes more than two pairs before all matches can be made.
It was about a year when we got our first match, says Currie. That was last August and that fell through and if one person in the chain breaks it then all the surgeries are cancelled.
In the end, it took four pairs, eight people in all, from across the country to complete this circle. Burrages kidney came from Wisconsin and Curries went to Connecticut.
I didnt end up with her kidney, but shes my angel, says Burrage. Shes the one that made it happen, she stuck through with it through all the ups and downs.
You can lead a healthy normal life with one kidney and to give life to another person is beyond words, says Currie.
Burrage says he felt instantly better after the surgery and Currie says she has had no side effects since the surgery.
There are 335 people on the kidney transplant waiting list at UR Medicines Strong Memorial Hospital.
To learn more about organ donation how it works, stories about families who have experienced this, how to sign up on the states Donate Life Organ Donor Registry log on to Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Networks website www.donorrecovery.org.