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Bellmawr Couple Part Of 30-Kidney Donation Chain

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A South Jersey couple is involved in an enormous kidney donation chain, linking generosity and hope.

A donation chain works like this: On behalf of person A, a kidney is donated to B, who has someone donate to C and eventually back to A. In this case, A was Danny and Debbie Giaquinto of Bellmawr, who contributed to a chain of 30 kidneys.

After a first kidney transplant deteriorated and Danny went back on dialysis, Debbie says she planned to donate directly to him, but at the last moment wasn’t a match.

The people at Jefferson University Hospital then suggested the donation chain. “This summer, they came up with a perfect match for him and he’s a very difficult match, because he has a lot of antibodies due to the first transplant. We went in the hospital and were both transplanted. His came in from California. My kidney went to Florida.”

Debbie Giaquinto says she’s thrilled to death with her health and her husband’s. Although, perhaps thrilled to life might be a better fit.

“So, I’m just happy I was healthy my whole life and was able to pay it forward and pay it forward to my husband so I can see the progress every day and how happy he is. So, it’s a rewarding thing for me.”

Reporter: “And no ill effects to you?”

Debbie Giaquinto: “No, I’m fine.”

The Giaquintos donation chain was profiled in the Sunday New York Times.

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  • David J Undis

    The generosity of live organ donors is wonderful. It’s a shame we need so many live organ donors. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

    There is another good way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — if you don’t agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the back of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. About 50% of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 14,900 members, including 435 members in Pennsylvania.

    Please contact me if your viewers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you’re interested. Please let me know if you have any questions. David J. Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers at 6509 Cornwall Drive Nashville, TN 37205 phone 615-351-8622.

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