Four People Sharing a Kidney Donation Bond Meet for the First Time at Loma Linda University Health Event

Four Southern California residents who share an improbable bond of kidney donation met for the first time this week (April 30) at an inspiring event hosted by Loma Linda University Health to honor living kidney donors.

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Through a unique “loop” paired kidney exchange between Loma Linda University Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, mismatched kidney donor/recipient pairs found matching counterparts.

Riverside, CA (PRWEB) May 02, 2014

Four Southern California residents who share an improbable bond of kidney donation met for the first time this week (April 30) at an inspiring event hosted by Loma Linda University Health to honor living kidney donors.

Ivan Vasquez, 31, of Los Angeles, wanted to donate one of his kidneys to Haing Yun, 67, of Rancho Cucamonga, a patient at Loma Linda University Medical Center whom he considered to be “like a second mother.” Unfortunately, they did not match for organ donation purposes.

Meanwhile, Nichole Hurtado-Silva, 40, of Bakersfield, wanted to donate a kidney to her cousin, Yvonne Hurtado, 38, of Ventura, a patient at UCLA Medical Center. But they, too, were incompatible for organ donation.

In a unique “loop paired kidney exchange” program overseen by medical teams from Loma Linda University Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, the four found matching kidney donors and recipients between them. Through the kidney exchange, Vasquez donated a kidney to Hurtado, and Hurtado-Silva donated a kidney to Yun.

All are now doing well, and met for the first time at the second annual “Gift of Life” Living Donor Award ceremony, hosted by Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute. The four were presented before more than 140 people, including other 2013 kidney donor/recipient pairs, at the gathering held in Riverside, where the living kidney donors were honored with awards.

“Our living kidney donors are the true heroes, because their selfless act has resulted in saving the life of another person,” said Dr. Pedro Baron, kidney transplant surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He said a vast majority of patients succumb to their illness while waiting to receive an organ transplant.

According to Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), more than 107,000 patients are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

Ivan Vasquez had known Haing Yun as a co-worker at a clothing company in Los Angeles, and they have formed a bond. “She cooked food for me and brought food for us to share,” he said. He said Yun started becoming sick, and confided that she was planning to leave California because of the long wait for a kidney transplant. He told her she did not need to move because he was willing to donate his kidney.

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you made a difference in someone else’s life,” Vasquez said. Yun said, “We were close before, but we’re even closer now.”

Yvonne Hurtado had been on dialysis for 10 years and her chances of receiving a kidney transplant were diminishing. Her cousin, Nichole Hurtado-Silva, has six children, was about to be married, and planning to relocate shortly from Ventura to Bakersfield, where she was going to start a new job. But she could not bear the thought of her cousin’s health further deteriorating without her taking action.

“I feel I was just an instrument used by God to save a life,” Nichole Hurtado-Silva said. Yvonne Hurtado expressed gratefulness to her cousin and her donor “for giving me a chance at life.”

Photo Caption: Through a unique “loop” paired kidney exchange between Loma Linda University Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, mismatched kidney donor/recipient pairs found matching counterparts. In the picture, Dr. Duane Baldwin (left), living donor program director at Loma Linda University Medical Center presented the four (from left) – Haing Yun, Nichole Hurtado-Silva, Yvonne Hurtado, and Ivan Vasquez – who met for the first time at the second annual “Gift of Life” Living Donor Award ceremony, hosted by Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute on April 30.

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About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals, and more than 800 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research, and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."

About Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC)
Loma Linda University Medical Center’s comprehensive health system includes: Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus, Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, Loma Linda University Heart & Surgical Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center - Murrieta, and physician clinics. LLUMC is widely respected as a health care leader and is known for its pioneering and cutting-edge work in such areas as organ transplants, proton treatment for cancers, cardiac care, physical rehabilitation, acute pediatric and adult care, as well as treatments for chemical dependence and other behavioral disorders. LLUMC is the only Level 1 trauma Center in the San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo, and Mono counties, which covers over 40,000 square miles in Southern California. With a total of 1,076 beds, the Loma Linda University Medical Center includes the only children’s hospital in the region. Loma Linda University Medical Center sees over 40,000 inpatients and more than 750,000 outpatient visits a year.