Kristen Macurdy was 17 years old when she underwent her first kidney transplant. It was a successful surgery and her new kidney lasted nearly 19 years, but in August 2016, Kristen found out her kidney function was once again declining.\nBecause she had already received a kidney transplant and was \u00a0familiar with the process, she knew that a living donor transplant was possible. Her husband, Luke, immediately volunteered to get tested.\nLiving-donor kidney transplant reduces the shortage of organs because a transplant surgeon takes a healthy kidney from a living person, rather than a deceased donor, and transplants it into the person with the failing kidney. Living-donor kidney transplant is the best option for those with end-stage renal disease because it allows them to shorten their wait on the list and receive a transplant before their disease progresses further.\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0\nEager to save his wife\u2019s life, Luke underwent an extensive evaluation process and awaited for the results, hoping he could help his wife. When he got the call that he was not a match, he was devastated.\nLuckily, dialysis wasn\u2019t the only option left. Experts at the UPMC Kidney Transplant Program, suggested they be part of the UPMC Living Donor Exchange Program.\nAlso known as a paired donation, a donor swap involves two pairs of donors and transplant candidates that do not have compatible blood types. The candidates trade donors so they can each receive a kidney with a matching blood type.\nThis option allowed Luke to donate his kidney to someone else on the waiting list so that Kristen could receive a donation from someone else \u2013 simultaneously saving Kristen\u2019s life.\nSince the kidney exchange process is anonymous, Luke and Kristen did not meet the other living donor pair. However, Kristen, who was part of a Facebook group for kidney and dialysis patients, saw a post from a woman who said her husband was undergoing a kidney transplant in Pittsburgh the same day. They immediately started messaging each other.\nKristen and Luke were able to connect with the people who were helping to save their family prior to the transplant, and then officially met in the operating room before the surgery.\nThe transplants were a success and today, everyone is doing well.\n\u201cIt\u2019s so much more rewarding to know that Luke helped save a stranger who\u2019s no longer a stranger,\u201d Kristen says. \u201cIt\u2019s amazing.\u201d\nKristen and Luke\u2019s results may not be representative of all similar cases.