Different families unite over shared live-saving kidney donations in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — Two different families, both with family members who needed a kidney, each found a match within the other family and completed the operations at the same hospital.

“I was 20 weeks pregnant; we did an ultrasound, and they found out that her kidney had, were full of cysts,” said Jamie Mckenzie.

Born with chronic kidney disease, 4-year-old Emery Brock had reached Stage 5 and was facing dialysis.

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That’s when her parents learned neither of them was medically compatible to offer the kidney she desperately needed.

Then came the call: A donor was available, and her name was Hallie Thomas.

“The minute we found out it was a child, it was even more emotional for me and gratifying that I could get this opportunity to do this. But at the same token - to help my husband,” said kidney donor Hallie Thomas.

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Her husband, Richard, also needed a kidney from his lifelong battle with the same chronic disease.

Through AdventHealth’s Living Donor Program, the families found out Emery’s mother Mckenzie was also a match for Richard.

Click here to learn more about AdventHealth’s kidney transplant program.

It has been three months since AdventHealth surgeon Dr. Michael Angelis oversaw the unique paired transplant.

“To have them at one hospital with all the patients are being taken care of - it’s pretty exciting for us,” Angelis said. “Sometimes, there’s exchanges where one kidney goes through one city, and you have, like, three or four donors.”

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Social distancing may have kept them apart Monday, but the room was still packed with gratitude for two lives restored.

See the full report in the video above.