TEMPLE, Texas — Two Central Texas kidney donors and their recipients held a virtual reunion on April 6 during National Donate Life month.
Just before thanksgiving, the lives of Iris, Timothy, Henry, and Brooklyn intersected in a way they never imagined.
Iris Hoff was in desperate need of a kidney. Her adopted son Timothy Hoff, a veteran wanted to help but he wasn't a match.
"I feel like it's service. It's a self sacrifice for the people that you love," Timothy Huff said.
The same goes for Henry Sander who was waiting for a kidney and Brooklyn Wynveen, a registered donor, also a veteran who wanted to help but wasn't a match.
"From day-to-day I just went on and said well if it do, it do and if it don't, it don't but they never forgot," Sander said.
Doctors at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas realized they had an incompatible donor/recipient pair who would qualify for a kidney paired donation, known as a "kidney swap." So Timothy donated to Henry, while Brooklyn donated to Iris.
"I feel already incredibly close to these four because this was such a special thing," Dr. Debra Doherty said, their transplant surgeon.
Dr. Doherty said 90,000 people are on the waitlist just for a kidney just like Iris and Henry were.
"If we had 90,000 people like Brooklyn and Timothy who were able to give their kidney, we could completely wipe out the list," Dr. Doherty said.
The group, now connected through the gift of life and their faith said they're grateful their paths crossed this way and hope others are inspired to give and serve.
"I feel like I was born to do this or called to do it," Brooklyn Wynveen said.
"Having received this kidney I have the opportunity to follow through in my service to others," Iris Huff said.
"Ask not what you can do for yourself but why you can do to serve other people, if you live that philosophy and act it out you will live a very fulfilling life," Timothy Huff said.
"Somebody's always got it worse. So what can you do to help them," Henry Sander said.
For additional information on Living Donor Kidney Transplant Donations through Baylor Scott and White, click here.
For information on becoming a donor, visit Donate Life or click here.
For the American Transplant Foundation, click here.