The Kindness of Strangers

Derrick and Sherri Dan and Kim
Living Donor Kidney Exchange Program

After suffering for several years with one medical problem after another, Dan went to the doctor who immediately made an appointment for him to see the kidney transplant team at Saint Barnabas.

Though willing, Kim was unable to give one of her healthy kidneys to her husband because their blood types did not match. They chose to enter the Paired Kidney Exchange Program. “We were shocked when only four months later, we were told that Dan would get a new kidney and avoid going on dialysis,” Kim explains.

About a year before the transplant and just weeks before his marriage, Derrick, a Newark police officer, began having a hard time walking. His fiancée called Saint Barnabas to begin testing. Like Dan and Kim, they too were not a match and chose the Kidney Exchange option.

“Over the next few months, Derrick’s kidney function rapidly decreased and only days before he was to begin dialysis, we got the call that we matched with another couple for a transplant,” explains Sherri, his wife and donor.

At an emotional first meeting several months after their transplant surgery, both wives spoke about wanting to help their husbands and making the decision to donate their kidneys. “We didn’t want to see our husbands in that type of pain,” says Sherri.

Now, both Derrick and Dan feel better than they have in years. As husbands and fathers, both men are grateful for their much improved health which will allow them to enjoy life with their families and continue working. “I got really lucky. I feel better than I have in years. I fell like a different person,” says Dan.

Both couples are so thankful to the staff at Saint Barnabas for all their help and support. “Everything came out perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing,” adds Sherri.

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