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Foundation Donor Story: Ben Raney


Grateful Patient Establishes Fund to Support Living Organ Donation

 

Atlanta, Ga. (May 18, 2017) – At 58 years old, Ben Raney has had two kidney transplants resulting from an autoimmune condition he’s battled for years. He knows first-hand the power of living organ donation, having received a kidney from a complete stranger as part of a paired exchange at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

The paired exchange began with an altruistic donor from Texas stepping forward to donate a kidney to someone in New Jersey. That person’s paired donor, also in New Jersey, then donated a kidney, which was sent to Ben in Atlanta. Not long thereafter, Ben’s wife Lisa donated her kidney to another patient at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

“I did it to help my husband and ended up helping another family in the process,” Lisa Raney, whose recipient had a paired donor that went on to give a kidney to someone in Pennsylvania, said. The paired exchange came to an end when the Pennsylvania recipient’s paired donor gave a kidney back to the hospital in Texas where the altruistic donor started it all. In all, five people received a lifesaving kidney transplant because of the paired exchange.

“Living donors and paired exchangesmake it possible for us to create a larger pool of good quality donors,” said Miguel Tan, M.D., surgical director of the kidney transplant program at Piedmont. “Living kidney donation has, and will continue to, improve outcomes and access to transplantation by decreasing wait times, improving long-term outcomes and lowering the number of people on the deceased donor waiting list.”

While the importance of living donation is established, estimates show only one-third of potential living donors and their intended recipients are compatible. A large number of patients have medically suitable and willing donors but cannot receive the organ donation due to incompatibilities like blood type and antibodies. That is where living organ donor coordinators, who manage everything from evaluation to matching donors and recipients, come in.

“Lisa’s kidney donation helped save the lives of five people and now, with the couples’ continued generosity, we’re able to better support the living donor coordinators who make paired exchanges possible,” Christopher Fowler, executive director of Piedmont Transplant Institute, said. “We are incredibly grateful for Ben and Lisa Raney, and we thank them for their support of Piedmont’s living organ donor program.”

The funds the couple has donated to Piedmont Healthcare Foundation will establish the Ben and Lisa Raney Living Donor Fund. As a not-for-profit organization, Piedmont relies on the generosity of others like Ben and Lisa Raney in order to offer many programs and advanced medical technology to the community. To support the program, visit https://give.piedmont.org and select the Ben and Lisa Raney Living Donor Fund from the menu of options.

To read more about Ben and Lisa's journey, please read "The Most Wonderful Gift".