Jill Kolb and Jason Smith were both desperate to find kidney donors, and when they finally did, their kidney transplants took place on the same day at Medical City hospitals. Now, they share a unique bond.
But, it wasn’t just a coincidence. 100 hospitalists at Medical City Dallas and Fort Worth had coordinated a paired kidney exchange, wherein they perform a series of tests to determine whether donors are a match. If not, the hospital identifies which of the pair will be a better match, ensuring the success of the transplant.
Fort Worth patient Kolb began her search in 2017, and after enlisting the help of social media users, found 200 willing donors. Her close friend, Sara Holloway, planned on being her donor.
After Dallas patient Smith had undergone bariatric surgery and lost 140 pounds in preparation for the transplant, his brother-in-law Jonathan Lee volunteered to donate his kidney.
Because they were not matches, the recipients and donors swapped. Lee donated his kidney to Kolb and Holloway donated hers to Smith. The kidneys required a 42-mile transport between the hospitals.
On March 12, World Kidney Day, all four recipients and donors sobbed as they met one another for the first time surrounded by loved ones, feeling an emotional connection after having gone through the same experience.
Watch their emotional meeting: