A 30-year-old young man decided to do a brave and unusual thing in Iowa last week: donate one of his kidneys to a random person. This set off a chain process in the state leading to 10 operations giving five people a brand new kidney, and thus, giving them a better ability to function in the everyday world.

The process began when Tyler Weig offered to donate one of his kidneys to whatever person might need the kidney (as long as they were compatible). Then, living kidney transplant coordinator Liana Frost hooked up patients who had willing donors but were unfortunately incompatible matches to their friends or family members who needed a kidney transplant. As an alternative to joining a list for a future transplant or continuing to wait for on one of those lengthy lists, the donors were matched up with a compatible person needing a transplant. In this sort of situation, when done properly, a maximum number of people are capable of getting the kidneys they need, and in this case five people have been able to get off of dialysis and lead better lives.

According to USA Today, this process allows people to get kidneys, fast, without spending months or more likely years on a waiting list. However, this type of kidney exchange is extremely rare. It usually begins when one person offers to randomly donate a kidney. According to Dr. Cass Franklin, a doctor at the Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines where the transplants were coordinated, in the past 20 years, this sort of situation has only occurred eight or nine times, making the 5-time pay it forward situation even more special.

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