A woman donated one of her kidneys to honor the loss of her five-year-old son, setting off a chain of organ donations that brought six people in Kansas City together for transplants.
Ashley O’Neill’s life took a turn for the worse on her 30th birthday when she found out she needed a kidney transplant to survive.
“Basically, the only symptom I had was being puffy in the ankles, being a little swollen,” Ashley O’Neill told KMBC.
She was on dialysis within a year. Her father, Stan, offered to donate one of his kidneys, but doctors recommended Ashley find another donor because of his age.
Then, Haley Wright came into the picture. Her five-year-old son, Drake, died in a car accident and had his organs donated.
On the fifth anniversary of Drake’s death, Wright found out she could continue his legacy by becoming a living donor.
Wright turned out to be a match for Ashley O’Neill.
“I guess the best word to describe it would actually be a miracle,” O’Neill said. “It brought hope back into my life. I feel like I could have a future again.”
Wright started a chain of living donations. Stan O’Neill traveled from California to donate one of his kidneys to another woman, Deanna Kelly.
Deanna Kelly’s husband, Robert, did not turn out to be a match for her, so he donated his kidney to someone else, connecting six people for a living donor kidney transplant chain.
It became Saint Luke’s Hospital’s first living kidney donor transplant chain in the Kansas City region, the hospital said in a press release.
A similar kidney transplant chain took place in 2015 when a woman decided to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger, inspiring five more people to donate one of their kidneys to a stranger, ABC News reported.