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Just after the July 18, 2007 surgery, Jones recalls feeling "like a truck had run over me." But he was well enough to go to a Diamondbacks baseball game five days later. The cost of the surgery and Jones' travel were paid by Bunnell's insurance.
Bunnell's grateful husband, Ron, then became what Rees believes is the world's first "bridge" donor, meaning his kidney donation was made later. Usually, paired transplants are done at the same time, with relatives agreeing to donate a kidney to a compatible stranger in exchange for a kidney for their loved one. That way donors can't back out.
Such reneging hasn't happened in his chains, Rees said.
Ron Bunnell was on a plane a week later to give his kidney to a 32-year-old Toledo woman, Angie Heckman. She's a waitress at a bar owned by her mother, Laurie Sarvo. Sarvo then gave a kidney to a woman in Columbus, Ohio, whose daughter then became the fourth donor in the chain.
On it ran, through patient-donor pairs including two more married couples, siblings, a daughter and father, and two friends. The last operation was done last March, with a 60-year-old woman in Toledo getting a kidney from a Baltimore donor. That recipient's daughter wants to donate a kidney, but a match hasn't worked out yet.
"There's a very good possibility that when I'm dead and gone, this chain will still be going on," Jones said.
On the Net:
New England Journal of Medicine:
Alliance for Paired Donation: http://www.paireddonation.org/
Donate Life America (site to register as a future organ donor): http://www.donatelife.net/
United Network for Organ Sharing: http://www.unos.org/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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