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Retired judge Howard Broadman helped his grandson get a kidney in the future — and he didn't even need time travel to do it.

He did have to make an incredibly generous move, though.

Three years ago, he donated one of his kidneys — not to his beloved grandson, but to a total stranger. Yep. You read that right. A stranger.


[rebelmouse-image 19533226 dam="1" original_size="1024x757" caption="Image via UCLA Health." expand=1]Image via UCLA Health.

You see, Broadman's grandson is Quinn, a little boy born with only one kidney — one kidney that isn't fully functioning. Broadman may be too old to donate by the time Quinn needs a transplant.

At first, he considered donating to a complete stranger anyway. He'd join the list of living donors fittingly called “altruistic donors” and hope for karma to come back around and help Quinn in the future.  

Instead, he came up with a brilliant idea.

That stranger he donated his kidney to? Her name is Kathy DeGrandis. And her sister (who hadn't previously donated because she wasn't compatible with Kathy), donated to a stranger, whose family donated to someone else.

How does this lead back to Quinn? Well, thanks to his grandfather’s innovative thinking, Quinn gets a voucher for that kidney he might need in the future.

“I didn't know anything about kidney donations or anything like that,” Broadman says. But learning that his grandson's life was on the line got him thinking.

He realized that the supply of donated kidneys doesn't even come close to keeping up with the number of people who need them.

To get a transplant in the future, Quinn would have to join a list that's currently over 100,000 people long, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

It's a disturbing wait, with only about 18,000 transplants taking place every year.

That’s why Broadman brought his simple idea to medical professionals at UCLA. He proposed that he’d donate a kidney to a stranger now, and Quinn would get a voucher for a kidney in the future.

And, in the end, he wouldn’t only save one stranger’s life.

Now, his simple proposal is touching more and more strangers' lives every year.

The UCLA Kidney Voucher Program, in association with the National Kidney Registry, connects patients in a sort of paying-it-forward system that Broadman describes as “a geometric progression of goodness.”

How it works: Someone like Broadman has a kidney to give and a loved one in need, but an obstacle like time stands in the way of a direct donation.

So they donate to a stranger. Then their loved one (like the Lego-loving, soccer-playing, joyful kindergartner named Quinn) gets a voucher to become a high priority recipient when an appropriate match becomes available.

[rebelmouse-image 19533227 dam="1" original_size="2448x2783" caption="Image via UCLA Health." expand=1]Image via UCLA Health.

The initial response to Broadman’s idea? Medical professionals told him that “nobody's ever wanted to do that before,” he says.

But he was ready to be the first, and a unique exchange program was born.

Since its inception at UCLA, at least 30 hospitals now have this program, and studies show that it's making a real difference.

Right now, only about 6,000 donations a year come from the most effective donors — living donors.

This voucher program is already increasing those numbers. So far, donation chains have led to 68 transplants and 21 vouchers issued to patients in need. People who aren't compatible with their loved ones can donate to help them anyway.

[rebelmouse-image 19533228 dam="1" original_size="1024x723" caption="Image via UCLA Health." expand=1]Image via UCLA Health.

“Sometimes you need to break out of your pattern, look at things from a different viewpoint,” Broadman suggests. This program, he says, is his “small gift to the universe.”

He pulls no punches in admitting that donating a kidney is a painful procedure. But he’ll tell you that it's worth it to give a fighting chance to someone — like that adorable youngster Quinn, or your own loved one.

“It's my best legacy. I don't know any gift better,” Broadman says as his voice cracks. “It's pretty powerful.”

Inspired? Learn more about the UCLA Kidney Voucher Program.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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