At 17 years old, Don Burl III was diagnosed with Alport syndrome, a genetic disease that affects 1 in 50,000 children, impairing hearing and eyesight, and is most commonly characterized by progressive loss of kidney function. Since his diagnosis, Don has received kidneys from three separate donors — the first from his father, the second from a deceased donor and the most recent from his younger brother. He is on the brink of receiving his fourth, courtesy of a paired kidney exchange that involves a member of his extended family and a complete stranger.
“We look at living donors with great appreciation. Essentially, I cannot do transplants if there are no donors. Donors are the cornerstone of what I do,” said Dr. Nahel Elias in the Boston Globe, surgical director of renal transplantation at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center.