Boise man's generosity sparks 11 person kidney transplant chain

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-26 20:19:17-04

BOISE — Dan Morrow decided to be the ultimate good samaritan and give his kidney to a stranger.

"I didn't even know what that donation was called; it goes by a variety of names, its called an altruistic donor, a good samaritan donor," said Morrow.

After researching, he found the two closest clinics to Boise were in Salt Lake City. A few trips, various testing, and interviews later, the actual donation happened on February 25th. With the donation came some added surprises; Dan was the missing link for 11 people to get their kidney transplants

"How often do we actually have a chance to do something that good?" said Morrow.

It's called a "donation chain" — basically someone needs a kidney, and their family member is willing to give one, but they're not a good enough match to their relative in need.

"That's very unusual, we usually don't have 11 people in a chain donating, and to be involved in that, it feels great and especially for the good samaritan," said Dr. Sanjiv Anand, transplant nephrologist with Intermountain Healthcare.

Morrow explains it kind of like a game of solitaire, and all you're waiting for is the five of clubs to win the game. Dan is that five of clubs, which led to a ripple effect and the victory prize of 11 people receiving kidneys.

"Suddenly they can make all of these 11 different pairs they just couldn't find matches for and suddenly they can make the pairs work," said Morrow.

The 22 surgeries were all done within ten days of each other, starting with Boise-based Dan and spanning across New York, Phoenix, Cincinnati, and Georgia, to name a few.

"The last one was my hometown in New Mexico, so that was pretty cool," said Morrow.

Dan's surgery was at 7:30 am, and by 10 pm that same night, his kidney was transferred to complete stranger. Dan might have been the wild card, but he says it was only possible thanks to many other great people, like the doctors and other donors.

"It's just great to feel like you can give something like that," said Dan, "It's great."