Selfless kidney donor sparks chain of surgeries, saving 3 lives in Kansas and Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One unselfish kidney donor sparked a chain reaction of surgeries that saved three lives as a result.

The holiday season is a time for giving, and perhaps no gift is more precious than one that saves a life.

There are about 100,000 people across the country on dialysis waiting for kidney transplants. Unfortunately, doctors say less than 20,000 of those folks actually get new kidneys because there aren't enough people willing to donate.

Two weeks ago, 25-year-old Ky Kanaman's decision to donate one of his kidneys to anyone who needed it sparked a chain reaction of donations that saved not one, but three lives.

"In reality, I was a healthy dude from Texas with two, and I only needed one," Kanaman said. "At the moment of figuring out the situation, it was something that I was supposed to do. It was the right thing to do. It was something I felt like I needed to do. Then the ball got rolling. It happened really quickly."

Kanaman's kidney was a match for a little girl at Children's Mercy Hospital who also had a friend willing to donate for her.

That friend instead donated her kidney to a Wichita man, where no other match could be found.

The Wichita man's mother wanted to donate one of her kidneys to save her son, but it didn't match. Instead, a program at the University of Kansas Hospital matched her kidney to another Kansas man who needed it.

In all, six surgeries took place about two weeks ago.

The giving spirit extended to the hospitals involved. Children's Mercy and KU hospitals didn't fight about who did what, but worked together in partnership to make it all happen.

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