Kidney donor finds reward in saving someone's life

HOUSTON CHRONICLE | Mike Hixenbaugh
Doug Krammer and his wife Erin, pictured here before running a 5k, often post photos on social media to show people it's possible to maintain an active lifestyle after donating a kidney. Krammer donated one of his to total stranger.
A year ago, Doug Krammer walked into Houston Methodist Hospital, signed some forms, slipped into a blue gown - and then gave away one of his kidneys.

The 35-year-old College Station paramedic didn't know anyone who needed one, he said. But he figured, "I have two, I don't need them both, and other people are dying."

So why not?

Krammer makes it sound simple, like signing up for an office blood drive, but his decision was anything but common. Altruistic organ donation - or nondirected donation - is a modern phenomenon, made possible only two decades ago after researchers proved that people could live long, active lives with just one kidney.

Since then, fewer than 2,000 people nationwide have donated kidneys to strangers, according to data compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS. The act is even rarer in Texas and across the South: Through the end of 2015, just 36 people in the two-state organ sharing region of Oklahoma and Texas had given a kidney to someone they never met - fewer than three a year since 2001. Continue reading 

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