Local woman donates kidney to stranger to help brother-in-law in paired exchange

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 18:29:26-05

(WXYZ) — As of November 1, nearly 2,000 people in Michigan are in need of a kidney transplant. This fall, that number became a little lower.

That's because of Lindsey Dryden; she gave her kidney to a stranger.

"I was scared; I remember being on the operating table crying, because I was nervous," said Dryden.

Sitting inside the transplant institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Dryden told us about her brother-in-law, Del, a school teacher and father of two in Hamtramck who up until recently, was having to take naps just to get through the day.

"He was in a car accident when he was younger and he lost his spleen and one of his kidneys and then the kidney that he did have left was failing him," said Dryden.

Del, like tens-of-thousands of people in the United States right now, needed a kidney transplant.

"So as soon as he said that, I said, 'well what do I need to do? What do I need to fill out? Where do I go to find out about it?'" said Dryden.

Dr. Rohini Prashar, medical director of the kidney transplant program at Henry Ford Transplant Institute, tells 7 Action News that as of early November, there are about 100,000 people in the country waiting for a kidney transplant.

"If you just talk about kidney disease, about 10-20% of people waiting for a kidney transplant die every year," said Dr. Prashar.

Dryden turned out to be a match for her brother, and many others who are waiting.

So Dr. Prashar approached her about going into a kidney pair donation pool, where her kidney would go to a complete stranger, and Del would still get a kidney, but from someone else.

"And I said sure!" said Dryden.

Dr. Prashar said, "because of her kindness, not only did her brother-in-law get a kidney transplant, she helped many other people."

Dr. Prashar says a living organ donation like Dryden’s to a stranger is rare, but so needed.

Because today Del is doing better than he has in a long time.

"Almost immediately his energy came back, it was amazing to see that transformation," said Dryden.

And someone out there who Dryden has never met, is too.

"If you’re willing to take a risk, there’s so many good things that can happen for other people when we think about others instead of just focusing on ourselves," she said.

In a few months, Dryden will have the opportunity to meet the person she gave her kidney to if they're interested.

She says she’d love to meet them.

To learn more about organ donation in Michigan, click here.