Minister, parishioner take part in 2nd largest kidney swap - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Minister, parishioner take part in 2nd largest kidney swap

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A north Georgia minister is indirectly receiving the gift of life from a former parishioner.

The men participated in the world's second largest kidney swap in history.

Their surgeries took place at the Emory Transplant Center in Atlanta.

Gainesville Pastor Troy Milford tried hiding his kidney disease from his congregation at Chalcedonia Baptist Church.

"I don't tell everybody everything," Milford. "I just don't. I mean because I was there to serve them."

But when parishioner Robert Poole heard the news, his only thought was what could he do to help his friend.

"The only time I had second thoughts about it was the day after surgery when I woke up and it was -- I didn't know why anybody would put their selves through this," said Poole.

But Poole's kidney wasn't a match, so the men participated in a paired donor exchange program.

A record-setting chain of 56 surgeries occurred, where Poole's kidney was donated to a recipient in Texas, and Milford received a kidney from a donor in New Jersey.

"It was the second largest chain, but what was really exciting, in addition to it being the second largest chain, was that it was achieved in only 40 days," said Dr. Nicole Turgeon of the Emory Transplant Center.

Both men feel blessed to be a part of a surgery chain where 28 people received the gift of life.

"I'm blessed and very grateful that this did occur and it happened this way," Poole said.

Milford said, "I know that the Lord is the one that put everything together and let it happen. And I give him all the thanks and glory for every bit of it."

Turgeon says there are currently more than 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list.

Emory University doctors have performed 27 kidney transplants since its paired donor exchange program began in 2010.

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