NJ hospital breaks record for largest living donor transplant chain

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LIVINGSTON -

An Essex County hospital has broken the record for the largest living donor transplant chain for a single hospital in the country. 

Saint Barnabas Medical Center celebrated its largest kidney transplant chain ever with an event at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange Monday. Recipients met their donors for the first time.

The chain started with one donor who helped save the lives of over a dozen people by triggering a 15-way kidney swap. That chain has now grown to 46 people and it keeps expanding.

“The recovery time is just a little blip in my life compared to the lifestyle that my recipient is going to have,” says donor Brian Glennon. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Glennon says that he was inspired to donate a kidney by the idea of setting up a chain of transplants between people who were not related.

Marlboro Haley Tsai says that she needed a healthy kidney to survive. She says that her daughter Jocelyn was prepared to donate her organ, but that they were not a match. Once Tsai signed up for the transplant program, she says that her daughter decided to give her healthy kidney to a stranger.

“The idea of helping somebody else was really appealing to me too,” Jocelyn says. “Just made me feel I have a sense of purpose."

“If you're thinking about doing something special, think about living donation,” Glennon says.

There are currently 4,000 people registered and waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant in New Jersey. Only a small fraction will received a transplant this year, according to officials.

Saint Barnabas is home to the largest living donor kidney transplant program in the country.

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