Oelwein native donates kidney; starts chain reaction of donors
Written by Danielle Wagner, Anchor/Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
One kidney donation set off a chain reaction of similar good deeds at one Des Moines hospital. In one week, five people donated their healthy kidneys to others in need.
The man who started all this, Tyler Weig, is originally from eastern Iowa. Weig graduated from Oelwein High School in 2001. He actually went to prom with KWWL's Danielle Wagner, also an Oelwein graduate.
Tyler Weig now lives in the Des Moines area. He helped save a life by deciding to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.
"Right now its starting to hit me, what it means, how special it is," said Tyler Weig.
On Monday, Weig went into surgery to have his kidney removed, to be transplanted into a patient who needed it to survive. Dr. Cass Franklin removed his kidney during a three hour operation while another patient waited to receive it.
"Today I get blessed with a new kidney," said Lance Beyer.
The Mercy staff put the healthy organ into an ice bath to prepare it. A short time later, doctors began the long complicated transplant surgery on 42-year-old Lance Beyer of Pella, who had kidney disease for 25 years. After a successful surgery, two days later, the two met for the first time.
"So you're the donor? Appreciate it. Thanks a lot. It's working real good," said Beyer.
But how do you thank someone for the gift of life?
"I see his family, what he'll be able to do now makes me happy," said Tyler Weig.
Weig's desire to save one person set off a chain reaction that lead to another kidney transplant that same day.
45-year-old Jay Lindahl of Boone was wheeled in to receive another kidney. Turns out his donor was the wife of the first recipient.
"You can give your kidney to someone, someone will help my husband in that way, it's a no brainer," said Julie Beyer.
Her kidney wasn't a match for her husband, so she paid it forward to help a stranger instead.
After operating on those two pairs Monday, two more kidney transplants were performed Tuesday. On Wednesday, even one more. None of the recipients knew his donor, but four donors were friends or family of another patient in the chain who they wanted to help but didn't match.
Five new beginnings and ten lives impacted by one initial and generous gift.
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