UAB's Kidney Transplant Chain continues to grow

Published: Apr. 6, 2015 at 2:38 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2015 at 2:38 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Denise Prewitt was at UAB Hospital where nurses prepped her for surgery when she said:

"Of course you're going to be a little nervous but I think the excitement outweighs it."

Prewitt was about to become a living donor. Her kidney will go to a patient on the donor exchange transplant list, a person Prewitt has never met.

"I hope I get to meet the person that I am donating to, but if I don't, it doesn't really matter. Because I'll still know I did what I could," Pruitt said.

Prewitt's selfless donation is part of what makes the UAB kidney transplant chain a success.

The donor exchange was born when Paula Coke offered to donate her kidney to a complete stranger.

She was paired with another recipient who already had someone in their life willing to donate but wasn't a match.

Coke donated her kidney to Lornette Stewart. That started chain reaction of surgeries.

Prewitt got involved when she learned her coworker's mom, Marjorie Wilhite was very sick and needed a new kidney.

Prewitt offered to donate hers but quickly learned she would not be able to help Marjorie.

"The good news is you're a qualified donor. The bad news is you're not a match for Miss Margie, Pruitt said, explaining how she got involved in the program.

"But if you will agree to become part of a chain that we have in place then Miss Margie will still get her kidney and you will just go on a waiting list for the right match for you," she continued.

Marjorie got a new kidney. One year later, Prewitt got the call from UAB.

She was a match for a patient in need and Prewitt was still willing to donate. Her kidney donation will go to the 38th patient in the chain.

UAB Dr. Jayme Locke personally thanks donors like Prewitt for their commitment and gift.

"A lot of people would have just walked away. And you didn't. and that's huge. And because of you more lives are going to be saved," Locke said.

Prewitt says being a part of the programs feels like being part of a miracle.

A spokesman for UAB says Prewitt and the kidney recipient are doing well today.

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