Woman Donated Kidney to Complete Stranger, Starts US's Longest Multi-Hospital Donor Chain

Kathy Hart is one of 250 people in what might be a record-breaking chain.

Read her story below, and watch the full story on ABC News' "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET.

I was completely at peace because it wasn't about me, but about a purpose greater than my own needs. It wasn't important to me to know the recipient or her history, race, religion, age, gender or lifestyle -- only that she had a need that I could help fulfill. I was at peace because I trusted the transplant team and their prognosis that my body would function normally with one kidney. I was at peace because the expected benefit far outweighed my risk.

Donating a kidney was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made. I did it because I could. It was that simple. The question for me was never “why would I?” but “why wouldn't I?”

I remain at peace because life offers no guarantees. I appreciate but don’t take for granted my blessing of good health. I don’t worry that I might someday need my other kidney any more than I worry about getting struck by lightening. Peace comes not from certainty, but from listening to my heart and acting consistent with my beliefs.

Reactions to my decision are mixed. Most people understand donating to family or a friend, but donating to a complete stranger is contrary to conventional thinking. The most common reaction I hear is, “I could never do that, I’m way too selfish. You are a saint.” I am definitely not a saint, but what is known as a Good Samaritan living kidney donor. It was not only one of the easiest decisions I've made, it was one of the best.

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