Banner nurse donated her kidney to a stranger to save her mother's life
That is when Trejo, a registered nurse at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, remembered hearing about the hospital’s Paired Kidney Exchange Living Donor Program. The program connects a recipient-donor pair with a second pair whose donor is a match for the recipient in the first. If Trejo agreed to donate one of her kidneys to the program, her mother would receive a compatible kidney from a different living donor.
Janet and Lorena entered the program on a Friday in 2008. The following Monday, they were matched with another donor-recipient pair, and just days later, they were in surgery.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Trejo. “One day, she was struggling through dialysis and the next, we were going through with the exchange. It all happened so fast that we didn’t have much time to process the whole thing. We are so grateful that it all worked out the way it did.”
Banner Good Samaritan began offering paired kidney exchange in 2007. The hope is that it will help patients find a match faster than a traditional deceased donor system. Since beginning the program, they have performed 27 successful paired kidney exchanges.
Janet and her mother were one of four donor-recipient pairs to participate in the exchange that day; an experience that, she said, changed her mother’s life. Since having the kidney replacement, Lorena has gained weight and is more active and energized.
For Janet, the experience left a lasting impression. She plans to continue working with Banner’s Paired Kidney Exchange Living Donor Program by serving as a mentor for donors who are considering the program.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about kidney donation,” she said. “I want to help educate people so that they can make the best decision for themselves.”