By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – Last month, a woman from Denver gave a kidney to a stranger out of the kindness of her heart.
Sara Martin says she is now a member of the A-Team, an anonymous or altruistic donor whose kidney starts a chain of kidney transplants. Martin’s donation is expected to trigger six transplants.
CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met the 39-year-old Martin when she walked into Bodies by Perseverance, her gym in downtown Denver. A group of friends was there to surprise her.
“I think you get to skip the line on the way to heaven,” said Courtney Samuel, owner of Bodies by Perseverance.
“No, I get to skip the line if I ever need a kidney,” laughed Martin.
That’s because on April 19, Martin donated her left kidney at the University of Colorado Hospital. She didn’t give it to a friend or family member, but to a stranger in need.
“It’s really a very minor inconvenience for me and someone else has another shot at life,” said Martin.
Martin’s desire to be a donor started 16 years ago with 3-year-old Alison Lamphier, her best friend’s niece. Alison had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. She never found a match.
“They fought a good fight and everything, but they’ve inspired me every day since and she has,” said Martin.
When the day finally came for Martin to donate… “It was hands down the best thing and the best feeling that I’ve ever had.”
Martin is now back exercising with personal trainer Samuel. She says she is feeling great knowing her Good Samaritan donation went to a 20-year-old woman and triggered a chain of six kidney transplants where pairs of patients and donors will get matched with other pairs.
“I think she’s the real definition of a superhero,” said Samuel.
“If I could give two, I would do it,” said Martin.
So far this year, surgeons have conducted 27 living donor operations at UCH. Four of those have been altruistic donations and have started chains leading to a total of fifteen transplants.
According to Donate Life Colorado, approximately 1,860 people in Colorado are currently waiting for a kidney.