Healthy Living: Organ Donation
Although organ donation involves risk, there are still men and women who willingly donate their organs to those in need. YNN's Casey Bortnick has more on a Syracuse woman's kind act.
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Giving really is its own reward.
"I was really blessed I was able to give," said Donna Germano, a kidney donor.
Donna and Jim Hayton may be the best of friends now.
"It's someone that I had never met or knew, " said Hayton, a transplant recipient.
Six months ago they were complete strangers. Jim's kidneys were failing. He spent four years on the kidney transplant list, undergoing dialysis just to stay alive.
"You had no energy, you know? You barely made it through the day," said Hayton.
In December, Hayton learned someone was willing to donate their kidney. It was a woman in Syracuse who works with dialysis patients. Germano originally wanted to donate to a patient she met at work, but after finding out she wasn't a match, she said, "I decided that I was going to let God choose the person."
That person turned out to be Hayton. The surgery was performed at the University of Rochester Medical Center last December. While organ donation is safer than ever before, doctors said there are still risks.
"There can be substantial disability, yet these people still come forward," said Dr. Carlos Marroquin. "They are the true heroes of our society."
That is a label that Germano is not comfortable with. "I don't like to be called a hero," she said. "Don't admire me, just admire the act and follow it. That's what I want."
After getting a new lease on life, Hayton said the word hero fits Germano quite well.
"She's an amazing woman. She said she'd give another one if she had three. I don't know how you describe someone like that," said Hayton.
Germano said, "I felt that I was called to do it. It's very emotional."