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Kansas City Star: A Children’s Mercy nurse, a patient and a decision that led to 6 transplant surgeries

By Andy Marso

Christa Jordan had several reasons not to donate a kidney a few months ago.

She had just gotten married, and her husband was about to start graduate school. And her brother might need a kidney some day.

But the Children’s Mercy Hospital nurse had one very good reason to donate: a patient who also happened to be her friend needed a kidney, and she had one to give.

“I just knew it was something I had to do,” Jordan said. “It wasn’t something I questioned that much.”

Jordan’s decision triggered a series of events that led to three people getting new organs, as the University of Kansas Hospital and Children’s Mercy collaborated for the first time on a kidney donation chain.


Donation chains are still rare because of the amount of planning they take and also because they usually require at least one “altruistic donor” — a person who gives a kidney without knowing any of the recipients.

In the latest kidney chain, that was Ky Kanaman, a 25-year-old Baldwin City triathlete and businessman who, along with his wife, cares for adults with intellectual disabilities.

“I kind of looked at myself and said, ‘Well, I’ve got two and I’ve got plenty of ability to give one, I think,’” Kanaman said.

Kanaman was a match for Jordan’s friend, Dayshanae Hosman. Jordan was also a match, but not as good a match as Kanaman was. She was a better match for a person on KU’s list, Lauro Zuniga.

So Jordan agreed to give her kidney to Zuniga if Kanaman donated his kidney to Hosman. That meant that Zuniga’s mom, Carolina Perez, who wasn’t a match for her son, could give her kidney to another person on KU’s list: Matt Lewis.

“I feel like I won the lottery,” said Lewis, a 54-year-old from tiny Savonburg, in southeast Kansas.


Read the full story via The Kansas City Star

Watch a video explaining the transplant chain