By Dawn M. Chiossi
Everyone knows how chains can be strong and durable, how they can fasten and bond, how they can be long lasting. In the case of a chain made up of people, they echo and resonate with the best of vibrations; vibrations that will last for generations and beyond.
Such is the case on Monday, June 11, in the most inspiring of events, St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, a member of RWJ Barnabas Health, celebrated a chain of special people known as living
kidney donors and recipients. This moving and emotional ceremony was held at West Orange’s Wilshire Grand Hotel from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. when more than 120 people swarmed to show their support, celebrate them and wish them well.
Living Kidney Donors are individuals who donated their organs so that others battling kidney failure would have a second chance at life. Debunking the myth that only matches can come from a loved one,
this living kidney donor chain is essentially strangers helping strangers. During the celebration, recipients and donors met face to face, realizing just how one man’s life touches so many other lives. People who attended this great event witnessed for themselves the actual human faces and souls behind organ donations and medical procedures.
The strength of this particular chain is ever enduring, and the vibrations they cast are the voices of those who sought to make a difference in the lives of others.
In a sequence of 46 people, 23 donors and recipients and counting, this is the largest kidney transplant chain to ever take place at one hospital. St. Barnabas Hospital, is, in effect, shattering the record for the most living donor transplant kidney donations.
This tidal wave of generosity began unknowingly in October 2017, with just one person making the utterly altruistic decision to become a living donor to help a stranger. That person was Caldwell’s Brian
When he volunteered to be an altruistic kidney donor in St. Barnabas Medical Center’s kidney-paired donation program, he had no way of knowing that his sincere, straightforward desire would create the
most heartwarming of ripple effects: An impressive 15 way kidney swap- where others were inspired to donate just as Glennon had done.
Now just that one desire, just that one act, created a veritable procession of altruistic kidney donors, people who just wanted to help others.
Impressively, more than a dozen lives were saved so far! Glennon, father of four, and a self-avowed stay at home dad, is humble regarding being the original donor and all that has transpired since.
“Something was missing from my life. I wanted to give back,” he states simply. For Glennon, donating a kidney wasn’t even a question. “We all have two kidneys and we only need one.”
The outpouring of support for this event has been so awe-inspiring, from the public, to the media, to social media, and it has spread so far, that folks still can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.
“It’s amazing,” is a sentiment heard over and over.
Those at St. Barnabas are thrilled. “This is the longest, largest single center kidney transplant chain that has been performed in the United
States,” asserts Dr. Stuart R. Geffner, surgical director Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division and chair of Surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital.
St. Barnabas Medical Center is home to New Jersey’s First Living Donor Institute, a kidney paired donation program.
Transplanting kidneys and transforming lives, St. Barnabas Hospital is ranked number one Living Donor Kidney Transplant Program in the United States and the third largest kidney transplant program in the nation.
For further information or details on kidney donation, contact St. Barnabas at 973-322-5346 or visit
www.transplantkidney.org and www.rwjbh.org/kidneytransplant.
When it comes to random acts of kindness, people don’t always know if their generous actions will make a difference. But as this chain of living kidney donors can attest, sometimes that knowledge will pop up in the most miraculous and inspiring of ways. And the results will echo for more than a lifetime.