One is a Michigan firefighter who wanted to honor the memory of his son, who died at age 24 in a tragic snowmobile accident. The other is an Air Force technical sergeant from Iowa who specializes in intelligence analysis. Besides their public service and Midwest origins, they have one other thing in common: They each donated a kidney to a complete stranger.
Harry Damon, the firefighter from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Nicole Lanstrum, who was born and raised in rural Iowa, initiated two kidney transplant chains last week at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center that freed at least six kidney patients — four at UCLA and two in San Francisco — from lives on dialysis. And because their generosity helped initiate similar chains at other transplant centers, the lives of many others will be restored.