The lives of four people will be connected from now on thanks to a chain of kidney donations.
Of those four people is New York Mets legend Ed Kranepool, who was the recipient of a kidney after the wife of a fellow patient donated hers to him.
Kranepool, first baseman for the World Series-winning "Miracle Mets," was just one of many people on the kidney transplant list. He was relieved when he heard he had a match, from a woman named Debbie Barbieri.
Barbieri originally got tested to see if she could be a match for her husband, Al. Even though she wasn't a match for him, she was generous enough to donate her kidney to someone else in need.
“Living and helping someone who is on dialysis is not easy. He’s been on dialysis for 2 1/2 years just going through everything and not being able to go places and take vacation. Trying to get to graduations and parties, everything revolves around dialysis,” she said at a recent press conference.
Al explained how trying it was waiting for a donor.
“I had some really depressing times when family members came really close to giving," he said. "One family member during the course of him getting tested he found out he had cancer. We actually saved his life because he found it at a very early stage."
Thankfully for Al, another man, Brian Cooney, got tested to be a living organ donor just to help someone in need and turned out to be a match.
“I don't have any particular reason. I just felt like it was a good chance to do good for people in general,” Cooney said at the press conference. “I knew some person would specifically benefit and I wanted to pay it forward for the good life that I’ve had.”
These donors and recipients all came together at Stony Brook University Hospital, where their procedures were performed, to share their stories and encourage others to become organ donors.
“We do have the shortest waiting time in the New York metro area, but it’s never enough because we're talking about years on dialysis,” one of the doctors said.