In life, everything seems linked together at times, and one small act of kindness can snowball into a blessing for many people.
When Kimberly Cooper walked into Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, all she knew was that she wanted to do something selfless for someone. Kimberly placed herself in the hospital’s kidney donation database simply because she felt the need to give back, and to be connected to another human in a very tangible way.
Days later, Kimberly found out that she was a match for a 21-year-old man named Brendan Flaherty. Brendan had been receiving dialysis while waiting for a transplant for six years.
Brendan’s friend, Philip Cameli had made a selfless decision of his own — he wanted to give his kidney to Brendan, but unfortunately, he wasn’t a match.
Inspired by Kimberly’s incredible act of generosity, Philip decided to go through with his donation anyway.
“I’ve made a lot of selfish decisions in my life,” Brendan explained. “and I thought that this would be a really great opportunity to amend those decisions.”
Philip was matched to Clotilde Ruiz, who was also awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant. When Clotilde’s daughter heard that a stranger with no connection to her mother had offered up a vital organ, she made the decision to donate her kidney, too!
These actions lead to a chain reaction until six different strangers offered kidneys to patients on the transplant list. All of these volunteers had initially signed up to donate to a loved one but hadn’t been a match.
When they heard about the acts of compassion that were happening all around the hospital, they were inspired to join in.
Northwestern’s surgeons performed a rare 12-person kidney swap, and now everyone who participated in the incredible exchange are expressing their gratitude and love for one another. They’ve become a family of sorts, which is exactly what Kimberly had hoped would happen when she walked in off the street and offered up a body part to a stranger.
“Are you kidding? Six people were saved just because I chose to be selfless for a day?” Kimberly says happily. “I’m going to have a lineage with somebody who is able to live on, and that’s more than money and more than words.”
Brendan couldn’t wait to meet Kimberly in person to thank her, and when he did, he had this to say: “Thank you very much for giving me the freedom to live my life the way I want to live it, not tied up to a machine 10 hours a night.”
This story just goes to show you how far one good deed can go, and how many lives can be affected by one kind act.
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