april capone almon, east haven mayor
East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon.

Connecticut Mayor Donates Kidney to Facebook Friend

April 22, 2010 03:45 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
The Web’s power to draw strangers together to participate in acts of kindness is highlighted by an East Haven, Conn., mayor who donated a kidney to a constituent she knew through Facebook.

Organ Donation and Social Media

When Carlos Sanchez turned to Facebook in search of a kidney, he did so out of desperation after no match was found among his family and friends. Set to go on dialysis, the last thing Sanchez expected was that his plea would be answered, least of all by East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon.

“I thought she was joking. The mayor of East Haven would offer me her kidney?” Sanchez said. “She responded back and said, ‘I am serious, I am willing to get tested.’”

Mayor Almon went through with the surgery. “Seeing him in the hospital and seeing him just come to life to be a whole new person and seeing him eating,” Almon said, reports the New York Daily News. “I still don’t have my appetite back and he’s just eating everything in sight and that’s tremendous.”

Tackling Health Problems Together

Last year Anthony Cottman, who suffered from anemia problems and received dialysis treatments three days a week, needed a kidney transplant, according to the New York Daily News.

Nancy Murrell, a woman he only met through text messages, e-mails and phone calls, offered to donate a kidney to him. “She is giving it to me for no other reason than I need it,” Cottman told the paper.

Murrell learned about this kidney donation opportunity through Chaya Lipschutz, another woman who donated a kidney and then created a Web site, Kidney Donor & Kidney Matchmaker, to help other donors and recipients meet.
Of her decision to help Cottman, Murrell said, “It’s for Anthony, and to make the world a better place, but it’s also just really, really interesting. It’s an adventure.”
David Turner had hoped the Web would be able to help him resolve a health issue, too, but instead he is using it to help someone else. Turner learned at age 25 that he had stage IV lymphoma.

A stem cell transplant was his best chance for survival, WTVD News explained, but without health insurance, David was going to have to find a way to raise the $500,000 he needed for the procedure himself. He started a Web site,, to draw attention to his cause.

Unfortunately, Turner also needed his cancer to be in remission to have the stem cell transplant. Even though it was for a time, the cancer came back, and he had no way of accessing the almost $50,000 that had been raised.

David changed his plan. His Web site became, and he now hopes that the venture will be able to provide funding for one person a year who needs a transplant.

Related Topic: Good deeds and the Web; an organ donation love story

A Kind Act

In Hampstead, N.H., Josee Archer set a goal to help people perform 1,000 good deeds in 30 days. is the Web site she created as part of the effort.
New England Cable News explains that participants in the project pick up a card from a local coffee house. Those who do a good deed put their initials on the card and leave it behind. The good deeds have a code, which the people who benefit from the act of kindness can enter into Archer’s site to thank the good deed doer; the recipients are then asked to pay a good deed forward.

A Kidney to an Ex-husband

Seventeen years after ending their marriage, Jim and Bernadette Tobin, a divorced couple, fell back in love after Bernadette helped save Jim’s life by giving him her kidney. Only a transplant could help Jim overcome his kidney disease, and when Bernadette asked to be tested, she learned she was a perfect match for him.

After recovering from surgery together at their daughter’s home, the two reconnected. Ten years after the kidney transplant and 17 years after divorcing, the Tobins remarried.

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