The Grand Rapids Press | Tanya Gmiter
altruistic organ donor effort dubbed “George’s Chain of Life” has criss-crossed the country — touching people in West Michigan. Six kidney recipients so far have been offered new life by six strangers who thereby became kin.
It’s named after 22-year-old George Shearer of Florida, who died of an infection in 2006 following a car accident. To honor him, his mother in 2010 donated a kidney to someone she didn’t know.
Earlier this year, the chain touched Alan West, an insurance executive who lives near Rockford. He was in the final stage of kidney disease when Suhad Shatara, a saleswoman at JC Penney in Grand Rapids, donated to him. Shatara’s brother, Samir Karadsheh, had also received a kidney.
But the chain didn’t end there. Alan West’s wife, Barb (they are the parents of Muskegon Chronicle Interim Editor Peg West), donated one of her kidneys to Linda Benson, a retired cosmetology instructor from Arizona. On surgery day, Parade magazine reports, the two women met by chance at a hospital elevator.