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Living organ donor kick-starts chain reaction, helps to save 8 lives

"There's people who are very very difficult to match and finding that living donor is like finding a needle in a haystack. If I might have been that needle I couldn't help but make my way forward to the top of that stack," said Reuss.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 8:14 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Are you the missing link in a chain that could save someone's life?
We so often hear about the need for organ donors, and while many donors are deceased, living donors are growing in popularity.
2019 was a record setting year for living donors. Nearly 7,400 living donor transplants took place, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
In 2018, 76-percent of all kidney transplants at Mayo Clinic in Rochester were from living donors.
Not everyone who goes under the knife as a living donor knows who will be the lucky recipient of their life saving organ donation.
"Last year in 2019, for the 3 sites of Mayo Clinic, we had 19 non-directed donors," said Kay Kosberg, Mayo Clinic's Kidney Care Donor Care Coordinator.
That's where Good Samaritans like Danielle Reuss come into play.
Reuss was a non-directed organ kidney donor.
Little did she know that her selfless giving would kick-start a chain reaction of living donors, known as the Paired Kidney Exchange Program.
"Danielle donated to the first recipient and their donor went on to donate to the next recipient and then kind of on down the line a domino effect," explained Kosberg.
Kosberg helps to pair up people who want to donate to a loved one but for whatever reason they're not a match.
"So we would basically swap donors. Your donor would donate to someone else's recipient and then their donor would donate back to your recipient," said Kosberg.
Reuss is a Transplant Social Worker at Mayo Clinic and has witnessed the struggles her patients endure while waiting for a life-saving organ.
"There's people who are very very difficult to match and finding that living donor is like finding a needle in a haystack. If I might have been that needle I couldn't help but make my way forward to the top of that stack," said Reuss.
The furthest thing from wanting accolades for her generosity, Reuss kept it under wraps for more than a year that she donated a kidney.
While the majority of living donors have a recipient in mind, Reuss is proof that you don't have to know who you're giving the gift of life too, in order to save someone.
If you're interested in learning about being a living or deceased donor head to Donate Life America and HRSA.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 9506
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Hennepin1780492023
Ramsey736781043
Dakota67355574
Anoka63852570
Washington40349356
Stearns33475276
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Scott25842181
Wright25830216
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Carver1661066
Clay12033104
Blue Earth1144868
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Crow Wing11170122
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Otter Tail9758127
Benton9018125
Beltrami816094
Goodhue805597
Douglas7849100
Itasca769597
Mower731249
McLeod710983
Winona708657
Isanti697883
Steele682731
Morrison671579
Becker627174
Polk599484
Freeborn559646
Carlton543474
Mille Lacs529474
Lyon527261
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Nicollet521160
Pine512642
Cass500553
Todd490743
Brown469757
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Martin385843
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Sibley251017
Kanabec248136
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Chippewa219442
Pope206710
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Rock177428
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Swift172622
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Jackson160816
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Lake132224
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Grant101110
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Lincoln8745
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Cook3070

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Cases: 523052

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Unassigned66470
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Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
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Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
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Jones404862
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Washington391463
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Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
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Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
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Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
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