ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 7, 2017 — For nearly 20 years, Seminole County Deputy Blayne Badura has lived with a kidney disease which inflames his organs, and eventually led them to begin shutting down.
Badura waited more than a year for a kidney transplant. That was until Oviedo police Officer Bobby Draughon heard about Badura’s story through social media.
Draughon was willing to donate one of his kidneys, but there was a problem: He didn’t match Badura’s rare B-negative blood type.
But Draughon’s decision to become a donor triggered a rare eight-person, cross-country kidney exchange, providing a kidney to not only Badura, but also to Leslie Gau of Winter Springs, whose daughter Lauren Gau also donated a kidney.
In total, there were five donors and four recipients across the country. The fifth donor has yet to be matched with a recipient.
“It’s a complete miracle,” Badura said Tuesday.
A paired kidney exchange, in general terms, involves at least two pairs of living kidney donors and transplant candidates who do no not have matching blood types.
Those awaiting a transplant “trade” donors so each receives a kidney from a donor with a compatible blood type, or which does not bring other known complications. By paying it forward, the first donor allows two or more people who are incompatible with their loved ones to receive a healthy kidney.
More than 118,000 people are listed for an organ transplant nationwide. In 2014, nearly 5,000 transplants were made possible by living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Florida Hospital physicians performed 169 kidney transplants in 2016, 32 of which involved living donors.
“This transplant chain was made possible by heroes — people willing to give their kidney in order to save another person’s life,” said Dr. Bobby Nibhanupudy, medical director of Florida Hospital’s abdominal transplant program. “Thousands of people are waiting for life-saving transplants. This paired exchange is proof that you could be a match to someone — maybe across the country — and become their hero, too.”
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