Teen kidney transplant recipient meets 55-year-old donor - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Teen kidney transplant recipient meets 55-year-old donor

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - It's been five days since a Coronado High School student had life-saving surgery. Today the 18-year-old will meet with the woman who traveled across the country to save his life.

Up and out of bed, Ben is on the road to recovery thanks to his mother, who donated her kidney to a stranger.

"For her to leave on Mother's Day and do this for me is the pinnacle of what a mom is," Ben said.

A database matched Ben with a 55-year-old kidney donor in Pittsburgh who flew to San Diego at the same time Ben's mother hopped on a plane to Pittsburgh to donate her kidney to that woman's sister-in-law.

"We just happened to be on different parts of the country," kidney donor Mary Bobich said.

Bobich's kidney is now inside Ben, a grateful young man who she just met for the first time.

"It's just great knowing that I was able to do this and help my sister-in-law, and it would be to anyone, but knowing it was a young man just makes it that much more special," Mary said.

Mary says she knew nothing about paired donations until she saw the procedure performed on an episode of "Gray's Anatomy".

"I was watching TV and yes, they did a large group of people," she said.

Doctors say spreading the paired donation word will substitute dialysis with dreams for thousands of patients.

"I want all of my children on dialysis, off dialysis, and to have a well-functioning kidney transplant," Dr. Elizabeth Inquilli said.

Ben's transplant also made history at Rady Children's Hospital.

"It's a big day for Rady Children's because it's the first time that on the West coast a pediatric patient has received a kidney transplant from a paired exchange," Dr. Alaj Khanna said.

It's also a big deal for Mary Bobich's sister-in-law, a mother of three.

"It means everything she can live a normal life now," Mary said.

Ben plans to head home today without looking back.

"Because of this transplant I think I can go to college and really be independent and live my own life," he said.

Doctors say all four patients are doing well and are expected to make full recoveries.

Mary says she scored on this deal because she got a free vacation to San Diego, while Ben's mother got sent to Pittsburgh.

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