Kidney swap connects six in small Mo. town

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

lickingJoy Robertson of KOLR-Springfield, Mo., tells the story of the coincidences and generosity that led to six residents of Licking, Mo., (population 1,471) swapping kidneys in a St. Louis hospital. Here’s a quick timeline, to give you an idea of how it all came together.

  1. Licking resident Stephanie Hood needed a kidney.
  2. Friends Randy and Melissa Lewis wanted to donate one for her, but neither was a match.
  3. Randy decided to donate his kidney anyway.
  4. Carrie Goforth, a 29-year-old Licking mother on dialysis, was a match for Randy.
  5. Meanwhile, Melissa Lewis decided to donate her kidney as well.
  6. Hers went to Gern Beasley, another Licking resident.
  7. Finally, Stephanie Hood, the patient who started it all, also got the kidney she needed. Her donor? Her cousin Diane. From Licking.

Reporting on kidney donation

Josephine Marcotty of the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently wrote a series addressing the increasing demand for kidneys, a need spurred by an aging population, increases in diabetes, obesity and high-blood pressure. In a recent AHCJ article, she explained how the story came together and how other reporters can follow in her footsteps and expand upon her work.

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