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Sisters inspire others to become kidney donors

CBS News logo CBS News 7/6/2019 Mola Lenghi

CHICAGO — Sisters Bethany and Hannah Goralski lost their father, Mark last year from kidney failure, nearly a decade after receiving a kidney transplant from his son, Josh. Bethany was ready to donate another kidney to her dad, but Mark died before she had the chance.

"We had known what organ donation could do for people and how much of a miracle it was and we didn't want someone else to go through what we did," Bethany said.

Bethany and Hannah's instinct was to give. If not to their dad, then to a stranger.

a person standing in front of a window posing for the camera: Bethany and Hannah Goralski © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Bethany and Hannah Goralski

The sisters stuck together. Their surgeries were performed a day apart in March and that set off a chain reaction. Ten donors and recipients met for the first time this week at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Hannah Goralski's kidney went to Julia Bauchwitz. Her friend Kathryn Motti donated to Michael Apa. His daughter Michelle's kidney went to Luis Sandoval. The next day, Bethany's kidney went to Melanie Mavec whose father Richard Pollack paid it forward, donating a kidney to Christopher Heitz.

"That probably was the biggest smile on my 10-year-old's face was for me to go back in the yard again and play catch with him," Heitz said.

Bethany said she wasn't able to save her dad, but she was able to save someone else's life. All of them got a second chance. 

"It's great to have a life back," Bauchwitz said. "It's been a long time."


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