Valley man saved by kidney donation program

Every day in this country, 20 people die while waiting for an organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing – But a couple in the San Tan Valley beat all those odds and managed to save three lives in the process !

There is little in life that one can be sure of, but without any hesitation McKenna Kuntzi can think of something.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she explains.

McKenna’s husband Matthew has Type I diabetes and kidney failure. Faced with years of dialysis, he found a new kidney in just a few months!

McKenna donated one of her kidneys to save her husband’s life, and it did, but his organ never even entered his body.

“I was just a cog in a wheel of this circle.”

McKenna’s kidney wasn’t a good match for Matthew. But doctors at Banner University Medical Center and the United Network for Organ Sharing knew this vital organ would be for someone else – and connect Matthew to the kidney he desperately needed.

Matthew became Banner’s first matched UNOS kidney donation. Much like an “organ swap,” UNOS found an eligible recipient for McKenna’s kidney, which sparked a chain of life-saving events.

“My kidney went to a person in New Jersey and that person had a donor and their kidney went to Pennsylvania and this person had a donor and this kidney went to my husband.”

Three kidneys, three lives saved, three new beginnings.

“I told her I could live a million years and not be able to thank her enough,” says Matthew.

According to UNOS, 20 people die every day in the United States while waiting for an organ. Take action and visit to see how you can sign up and help save a life.

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