How three siblings sparked a life saving chain of kidney donations

In 2011, Mark Goralski was in dire shape and in need of a kidney transplant, which his son Josh bravely provided. When that kidney began to fail, Mark’s daughters Bethany & Hannah hoped one of their kidneys might save him. But unfortunately, Mark was too sick to endure another transplant and died in 2018.

After losing their dad, Hannah and Bethany became determined to help someone else in need of a kidney and they both went under the knife at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in March, hoping to give the gift of life to another family or two.

This act of kindness started a kidney donation chain reaction, giving five families and counting the gift of life. Hannah’s kidney went to Julia Bauchwitz. Julia’s friend, Kathryn Mottl, donated to Michael Apa. Michael’s daughter, Michelle Apa donated to Luis Sandoval. Luis Sandoval’s intended donor will donate in the future.

Then, Bethany’s kidney went to Melanie Mavec. Melanie’s father, Richard Pollack is Christopher Heitz’s donor. Christopher Heitz’s intended donor will donate in the near future.

On Monday, Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s nationally recognized Kidney Transplantation Department gathered the families involved in this rare organ-transplant chain to meet for the first time.

Josh, Bethany, and Hannah joined Roe Conn and Richard Roeper to talk about this experience and meeting the families whose lives they touched.

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