Go to contents

Organ Donors Give Life to Save It

Posted November. 14, 2005 03:07,   


Two couples saw their spouses suffering from chronic renal failure regain new lives thanks to kidney transplants.

“We shared our lives,” one donor said.

The two couples are, Kim Young-cheon (41, Seoul) and Lee Mi-jeong (35), and Rim Dong-jin (35, Incheon) and Park Hyun-sil (34). Mr. Kim donated his kidney to Mr. Rim and Mrs. Park donated hers to Mrs. Lee.

Last August, the two couples were told by Korean Organ and Tissue Donor Program that kidney donors had showed up to participate in the “Family Kidney Exchange Program.”

Mrs. Lee had to go through 12-hour-long dialysis three times a week for two years. Kim, who had to see his wife’s suffering, immediately agreed to donate his kidney. Mrs. Lee at first did not agree to the idea, but finally agreed to it due to Kim’s persuasion that she has to get well to take care of their three young children.

Kim said, “I feel so grateful to the donor since I was so desperate.”

Rim and Park have been married for one and a half years. Park got married to Rim, even with the knowledge that Rim was suffering chronic renal failure. Three months after the marriage, Rim received a kidney transplant from a brain dead patient, but the kidney had to be removed because her body rejected the transplanted organ the following day. Since then Rim had to go through long bouts of dialysis.

After her most recent transplant operation, Park expressed happiness, saying, “Now I can lead a happy newly-married life.”

In principle, donors and receivers are not supposed to meet, but the couples got to know each other naturally.

When Kim was going through a blood test for operation, Rim, by chance, came by and gladly greeted Kim. Park and Lee also recognized each other during tests and exchanged greetings.

Kim said, “We felt comfortable being around each other. I want to maintain the good relationship.”

Under the Family Kidney Exchange Program, led by the Korean Organ and Tissue Donor Program, a family member of would-be kidney recipients donates his or her kidney to those on the list of soon-to-be kidney receivers in return for the opportunity that allows his or her family member who needs a kidney transplant to receive a transplant.

Director Choi Seung-joo of the Korean Organ and Tissue Donor Program said, “Would-be kidney recipients on the waiting list outnumber kidney donors. Therefore, instead of waiting for donors, it is better to participate in the program for a quicker transplant for a loved one.”