Kidney donation chain

STU BUTCHER

Tuesday morning, Chanute’s Haley Wright started a life-saving chain. 

After about a year-long process of testing and trips to Kansas City, Mo. to St. Luke’s Hospital, Wright was prepped for a kidney donation surgery.

Donor kidney chains take advantage of healthy and willing — but incompatible — donors. The chain is initiated by what is called a non-directed donor. A non-directed donor is someone who offers to donate a kidney without a designated recipient, but with the explicit wish to donate to someone in need of a transplant.

Wright, who is dedicating her act as a memorial of the death of her son Drake in an accident five years ago, is the non-directed donor.

Her kidney will go to someone who has a family member donor willing, but they are not match. That family member’s kidney will go to the next in line. The final kidney, from the sixth surgery, will go to someone in need who has been on the waiting list.

The six surgeries were planned over two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I’m pretty excited. I’ve been wanting to this for a while,” Wright, 31, said on Monday afternoon. “I’ve prepared myself.”

Wright received the call that she would be part of the kidney chain program the day before the Feb. 28 five-year anniversary of her son’s death.

“Five years is special,” she said, as well as helping someone out who needs a kidney.

A nurse in Chanute, Wright worked around vacation time for this endeavor. Now, she will get to see how it feels to be a patient.

“I don’t know who is receiving it yet,” Wright said of her donation. “We will meet this week along with the rest of the chain.”

With COVID-19 regulations, patients are only allowed one visitor a day.

Wright’s fiance´ Jason Watson spent the day with her on Tuesday, and her mother Judi Wright will be on hand Wednesday until she is dismissed, expected on the weekend. Recuperation from the surgery should take six weeks.

Judi, who said on Tuesday, “Everything went well,” said she is proud that her daughter chose to do something to save lives.

She was disappointed she couldn’t be with her the day of the surgery, but excited to spend the next few days as a doting mom.

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