Man's organ donation spurs 1 of the biggest paired kidney exchanges

Dec 16, 2015 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Image: Morsa Images / Getty Images

How much would you do for a stranger? Would you go under the knife and endure an incredible amount of pain for the benefit of someone you've never met? We may not all answer "yes" to that question, but an Australian man's actions prove the profound effect kindness can have on the lives of others.

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Paul Brannan decided to donate his kidney to a friend in 2011, but his friend received a transplant before the operation took place. Instead of going home, putting up his feet and forgetting all about the donation, Brannan decided to give his kidney to someone else in need, The Telegraph reports. And that's how this heartwarming story first began.

Last month, Brannan's donation facilitated Australia's biggest paired kidney exchange (when patients with willing but incompatible donors swap donor organs), which involved six hospitals and took place across two states — and subsequently changed the lives of seven Australians.

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Australia may have had its biggest paired kidney exchange, but it's not the first time something like this has happened in other parts of the world. Earlier this year in San Francisco, California, a two-day, six-way kidney transplant took place, and according to University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, in April, the longest kidney chain occurred, involving 68 individuals and spanning 26 hospitals nationwide.

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But how does Brannan feel about the way his life has touched others?

He revealed his philosophy about strangers during an interview with ABC Australia, in which he said, "I have a saying: 'a stranger's a mate that I haven't met yet.'

"So somewhere along the line I've helped a mate, and that's it… It's a big influence on seven people, and that's really great... Absolutely brilliant."

Brannan has a beautiful heart. His kindness has greatly impacted the lives of seven individuals and their families, and his story truly deserves telling. But it's not the first time Brannan has acted selflessly.

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"I have lost mates to accidents, suicide, diseases, and if I can do anything at all not to let another one die, I will do it," Brannan told the Herald Sun.

"I am a volunteer firefighter. I help out strangers all the time."

Let's hope this good Samaritan may inspire us all to live more fulfilling, generous and compassionate lives.

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