Doctors at Hackensack UMC match living kidney donors for the first time

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — When they met today, they said they had a feeling that the other was going to be the one who was going to save their life.

“You can’t thank a person enough for saving your life,” said Debra Ferman.

This time last year, Ferman was in and out of dialysis appointments and on a list of approximately 100,000 people in need of a kidney. Less than one in five would get one. Her husband told doctors that he wanted to give up one of his kidneys, in order to avoid the wait. But his antibodies weren’t a match.

Kenny Furlong, a father of three, was also in need of a kidney. His son volunteered, but was also told that his father’s body would reject the donation.

So for the first time — doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center — found a match between two living donors, within the families of two patients.

“I went from just living, to being alive. Now I’m alive,” said Furlong.

All four surgeries were performed in February. Everyone is now doing well. Even the otherwise healthy donors — a husband and a son — who agreed to the surgery to save a stranger’s life.

“They helped keep my dad going. It’s really a miracle,” said Kenny Furlong, Jr.