When Christine Gentry learned her friend Julia needed a kidney transplant, she didn’t hesitate to offer. Unfortunately, she and Julia were not a direct match, so they entered into the National Kidney Registry, a program that matches incompatible donor-recipient pairs with others.
Julia ultimately received her kidney through a different donor-recipient match, deeming Gentry’s kidney donation not necessary. But as Gentry watched Julia get her life back and start a family, she was inspired to help one of the other 97,000 people nationwide who eagerly await a kidney transplant.
Gentry became an anonymous Good Samaritan donor through the Living Donor Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), where the Division of Transplant Surgery has pioneered minimally invasive surgical approaches that lessen pain, shorten recovery time, and improve outcomes. When BWH sent Gentry’s medical information to the National Kidney Registry, they coordinated a series of donor-recipient matches, ultimately granting transplants to 28 people across the country in a chain of surgeries that took less than six weeks to complete.
“After seeing the serious threat of kidney failure to my friend and learning how long the wait list was, I simply couldn’t justify not doing this for someone else,” says Gentry. “I’m so grateful to the BWH team, who offered maximum support throughout the entire process.”
This article was originally featured in the 2017 Honor Roll, which celebrates donors to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. Check out more profiles of patients, clinicians, and researchers that illustrate the power of transformative philanthropy at the Brigham.