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Two Strangers

Chalson, a former elementary teacher with two grown children and two grandchildren, gave up work in September 2004, partly since she was becoming more fatigued. She has Alport Syndrome, an inherited and incurable disorder that attacks the kidneys. Her father and a brother died in their 50s, one of heart disease and the other of a stroke, and she thinks their poor health was related to the genetic disorder.

She was on the federal government's United Network for Organ Sharing list for two years, but time was running out. She only had around 15 percent function left in her kidneys and would require dialysis if that percentage continued to go down.

Then her sister called. The next day, her daughter-in-law, who also had seen the story, faxed over a copy of the piece of writing.

Chalson said about the idea of soliciting for an organ online that she was a little nervous.

After going to the Web site and evaluating its authenticity, she decided to post her profile. A relative, a promoter by trade, helped her write it, emphasizing facts about her family - her father was a police officer and one of her two brothers was a Marine who died in Vietnam.

A short time after Chalson registered, Matthew Bowers came across the similar article that Chalson had studied.

"It just blew me away," he said. I yelled to my wife and asked her to read the article.

Bowers spent the next few weeks exploring organ donations online in his free time.

He said, "It's amazing how many people are waiting for a kidney." He began to consider his excellent health history and wondered if he must volunteer to be a donor.

He said, "Donating a kidney, to me, just really didn't seem like a big deal."

His wife said the idea was "weird" and worried about the danger of surgery. She supported him, he said, since it was his body and he should decide what he does with it.

He decided he wanted to lend a hand to someone affiliated with the Marines, in view of the fact that his wife and many of his friends are Marines.

He posted his profile, describing himself and expressing his readiness to help someone affiliated with the Marines.



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