Historic three-way kidney swap saves trio of lives

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A donation chain linked three patients from three different hospitals to three different strangers willing to donate kidneys. FOX 2 cameras were rolling as the donors and patients met for the first time.

It all started when Henry Ford Hospital patient Kim Yarbrough's daughter Marquesha wanted to donate to her mom, but she wasn't a match. So instead, Kim got a kidney from Trisha Meyer.

"It was a privilege," Trisha says. "It was a privilege to be able to do it for my friend but then to be able to see how it touched another life and her family, and her daughter. It allowed us all to do our part and it's a beautiful thing."

Trisha originally wanted to donate a kidney to her friend David Hostetler, a University of Michigan patient with kidney failure. But she wasn't a match. Instead, he got a kidney from Tom Ash, because Tom's kidney didn't match his wife, Lisa, a Beaumont patient in need of a new kidney.

Now, back to Marquesha, Kim's daughter. As you might deduct, she turned out to be a match for Tom's wife, Lisa.

"I still feel blessed and grateful that I was able to donate to someone to give a second chance at life," Marqueesha says.

On July 22, the kidneys were moved from each hospital and the group became forever linked. Kidney paired donation is a transplant option for candidates who have a living donor who's medically able, but can't donate to their intended candidate because they are not a match.

Even though doctors do about 7,000 live donor kidney transplants nationwide a year, they are always overwhelmed by this show of generosity.

"It's the humanity of it," says Dr. Peter Summer. "It's the courage of the people involved."

"This a beautiful program and I'm doing well, thank God, and have a second chance at life," Kim Yarbrough says.