CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The National Kidney Registry completed their 1,000th paired exchange transplant at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Wednesday. The transplant was part of a chain of 10 transplants across the country.
The National Kidney Registry is a nonprofit organization with the mission to save and improve the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants.
People who would like to donate their kidney to a loved one in need but are not compatible can donate their kidney to someone they do not know so they and their loved one can enter as a "pair." The registry is a paired exchange program, unlike being put on the kidney wait list individually.
Tony Butler has been waiting since last June for a kidney. His wife Ginamel was a match but could not donate to Tony due to antibodies.
They decided to put their names on the National Kidney Registry. Two weeks ago, they found out Tony had a match. Wednesday, Tony received a kidney from New York while Ginamel gave a kidney to someone in Massachusetts. Ginamel says she would have done anything to save her husband's life.
"I just love him so much. That is what matters most," says Ginamel Butler.
The National Kidney Registry says it's goal is to facilitate 1,000 transplants annually by 2020. If not for NKR, some patients may have waited up to five years for a transplant.