I had never heard of a kidney chain until now. This is an incredible story of giving that really shows what paying it forward means.

A woman from Rogers, Minnesota named Mackenzie Meier is a 22-year-old dance instructor and a busy person in general. When she started having migraines for a couple of weeks, she recognized that something wasn't right.

She went to the doctor and found that her blood pressure was very elevated. Her father Jeff Meier took her to urgent care immediately and found out that Mackenzie's kidneys were failing her.

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The family discovered Mackenzie had a rare autoimmune disorder called IgA Nephropathy, which slowly attacks the kidneys causing them to fail at their job of cleaning out the waste from the blood.


Mackenzie's parents both wanted to give their daughter their kidneys but her Mom wasn't a good donor for her. Her father was a perfect match, but the doctors preferred to have a younger donor so her organ could last her entire life, rather than having to have another surgery in the future.  This is where the kidney chain comes into play.

Mackenzie and her father Jeff were both taken into surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Jeff's kidney was transplanted into another patient, and Mackenzie received her kidney from someone who was perfectly matched. Three patients received a new kidney because of this program. In this case, it was called a six 'paired-match' chain.

picture alliance via Getty Image
picture alliance via Getty Image


There are many people willing to donate their kidneys to save a family member, but they are not a perfect match. Dr. Taner said, "So in those conditions, the paired matching or exchange programs really allow for a better kidney to be transplanted into the recipients. We have participated in chains as long as 10 people, but nationally, you know, there have been chains that went up to 20 people, which is just an amazing thing. If you think about it, 20 people, ten people, they're getting really perfect matched kidneys for them, even if their immediate donor is not a match for them."

You can read more about this story here.




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