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For Immediate Release


VCU Medical Center nursing student donates her kidney to a stranger

Richmond, VA (August 6, 2012) – On Tuesday, August 7, Jessica Norman will donate one of her kidneys to a stranger in order to help save the life of 19-year-old Mitchell Lyne. Norman, a 22-year-old nursing student at the VCU Medical Center learned about Lyne’s medical condition while perusing through Facebook several months ago.

“Back in April I came across a post on my Facebook friend’s page about and remember reading about Mitchell’s story and imagining what kind of struggles his family and he must be going through,” said Norman. “His sister, Mary Elizabeth, and I went to the same high school and lived not too far from each other. After learning about Mitchell’s situation I decided that I was going to do whatever I could to help him and his family. I began my research on the topic of living kidney donation and after a couple of weeks decided that I was going to get tested to see if I was a match.”

Around the same timeframe, the social networking company recognized they had an opportunity at their programming fingertips to save thousands of lives, because on May 1, Facebook announced a plan to encourage everyone with an account to start advertising their donor status on their pages, along with their birth dates and schools — a move that it hopes will create peer pressure to nudge more people to add their names to the rolls of registered organ donors.

Lyne received his first kidney transplant at 8-years-old, thanks to the donation from his sister Stacey Lyne Daub. Due to complications from the transplant, years later in 2010, he received another kidney from a family friend, Kara Workman. Unfortunately that transplant outcome still didn’t fully solve Lyne’s medical issues, and has been patiently waiting for another living donor to come forward ever since; historically cadaver organs have a shorter shelf life than living organs which is why the Lyne family has been holding out for a living donor. Although Norman isn’t a compatible match for Lyne, VCU Medical Center Transplant Program coordinated what is known as a “paired kidney exchange” or “kidney swap” – this occurs when a living kidney donor is incompatible with the recipient, and so exchanges kidneys with another donor/recipient pair. In this case, the other pair involved has remained anonymous so Norman does not know who will receive her kidney, and Lyne will not know who is donating their kidney to him.

Participating in a paired kidney exchange program allows for a recipient to receive a better-matched kidney, and helps other individuals who would otherwise continue to wait for a matched donor. Approximately 45% of donor/recipient pairs could find a perfectly matched donor by entering the national paired kidney exchange program.

Fewer than half of adult Americans have signed up to be an organ donor through motor vehicle departments, online and official state registries. As of today at 11:15am, there are currently 114,783 waiting for organ transplants, according to the federal government’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Most of them — 92,000 — are waiting for kidney transplants, a procedure with a high rate of success.

“I hope that the third time is the charm for Mitchell and his family. I hope that this kidney will give them a new lease on life and keep Mitchell healthy for many years to come,” Norman added.

For more information on Mitchell Lyne’s story, please visit and A fundraising movement of support has also taken off through selling SAVEMITCHELL.COM t-shirts:

CONTACT: Mary Beth Thomsen


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