DES MOINES — A Mason City man was one of the donors in a chain of five kidney transplants in three days at Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines last week.
Mike Dodge, 38, donated a kidney to Nick Titus, 22, of Des Moines, a man he did not know.
“I have always been motivated to donate to help others. There is no reason not to give,” said Dodge, who has previously donated bone marrow and stem cells.
“You’ve got two kidneys so you can share your spare,” he told reporters at a news conference.
“If you need something, I’ll give it to you. I’m the guy who will show up and help you carry your couch up six floors if you need it. If you get stuck in a ditch, I’ll come get you. That’s just kind of what I do. I just always think you can help if you can.”
The hospital said the five surgeries are the largest kidney-paired donation chain in the state — unique in that all recipients and donors had their surgeries in the same hospital.
Mercy transplant surgeons Cass Franklin, M.D., FACS, and Johan Aerts,, D.O., performed the surgeries. Five unrelated living donors provided a kidney for transplantation to four Iowans and a patient from Omaha, Neb.
The transplant staff matched donors with compatible recipients. The pairings formed a chain, allowing multiple transplants and hope for people on organ transplant lists.
The chain of donations started with Tyler Weig, 30, of Des Moines, who gave a kidney to a stranger, Lance Beyer of Pella. Beyer’s wife, Julie, then donated a kidney to Jay Lindahl of Ames. Dodge, the Mason City man, an acquaintance of Lindahl, donated his kidney to Nick Titus. Titus’ aunt, Mary Sleeth of Chariton, donated a kidney to Nerissa March. Nerissa’s husband Peter had hoped to donate a kidney to Nerissa but they were incompatible. So he donated a kidney to Dawn Inman.
"New year. New hope. New life," said Mercy Transplant Services Medical Director Dr. Cass Franklin.
"Five lives saved through one noble endeavor."