8 Heroes Donate Kidneys to Strangers - NBC New York

8 Heroes Donate Kidneys to Strangers



    Emotional meeting of kidney donors and recipients. (Published Friday, April 22, 2011)

    Eight people who all agreed to donate kidneys to complete strangers finally got to meet the people they saved.

    The union in New Jersey Thursday night was full of hugs and warmth, enough to restore one's faith in humanity.

    All but one of the eight donors had a loved one, a spouse in most cases, who desperately needed a transplant. So they themselves were inspired to donate to others.

    Sixteen people in all came into St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, N.J., for a three-day surgery marathon in February -- beginning on Valentine's Day.

    "It's the best Valentine's Day gift ever," said one of the recipients.

    Walter Cockroft was the last recipient on the donation chain.

    He received a kidney from Marybeth Moynihan, whose friend John Wincz got one from Diane Schmidt.

    These people and the others in the chain are forever linked to each other and the random unrelated donor who gave his kidney to Francis, the first person in the chain.

    All of the attendees at Thursday's reunion said their organs were functioning well and their bodies were healing.