Des Moines Iowa’s Mercy Hospital performed an historic chain of kidney transplants. Beginning with an altruistic donor (someone who wants to donate life because they are healthy and able), patients with willing and able donors who do not match find complete strangers to donate kidneys to until all the would be donors have donated to someone, and those with kidney disease have received kidney transplants. This new vehicle of kidney transplantation will save many more lives as it puts together donors and recipients when they might have never connected. Here is KCCI tv in Des Moines, Iowa’s accunt:

For the first time ever in Iowa, doctors performed five kidney transplant operations with living donors in three days. What makes it so special is how complete strangers gave of themselves to save five lives.


It all started with this one man who had the desire to save one life. Tyler Weig, 30, was so thankful for his own health that he wanted to give the gift of health to a complete stranger. “Going through operation to remove my kidney to give it someone who needs it more than I do,” said Weig. “Right now it’s starting to hit me, what it means, how special it is.”


On Monday, Weig went into surgery to have his kidney removed, to be transplanted into a patient who needed it to survive. While Dr. Cass Franklin removed his kidney, another patient waited to receive it.

The Mercy staff put the healthy organ into an ice bath to prepare it. A short time later, Doctors began the long, complicated transplant surgery on 42-year-old Lance Beyer of Pella.

Beyer had kidney disease for 25 years. After a successful surgery, two days later, the two met for the first time. “So you’re the donor? Appreciate it…thanks a lot…it’s working real good,” Beyer told Weig.

But how do you thank someone for the gift of life? Beyer said he couldn’t put it into words.

“I see his family, what he’ll be able to do now makes me happy,” said Weig.


Weig’s desire to save one person set off a chain reaction, a domino effect, that lead to another kidney transplant that same day. Jay Lindahl, of Boone, was wheeled in to receive another kidney. His donor was the wife of the first recipient, Lance Beyer. “You can give your kidney to someone. Someone will help my husband in that way. It’s a no-brainer,” said Julie Beyer.


Her kidney wasn’t a match for her husband, so she paid it forward to help a stranger instead.

After that pair of operations Monday, two more kidney transplants were performed Tuesday. On Wednesday, even one more.


None of the recipients knew his donor, but four donors were friends or family of another patient in the chain who they wanted to help, but didn’t match. Mercy will hold a news conference Friday morning to introduce the other six patients and donors.