A New Brunswick woman wants others to follow her example to get involved with a program called the Living Donor Paired Exchange, an organ donor registry run by Canadian Blood Services.
Cyndi Joudrey is recovering from surgery to remove one of her kidneys. Last month, she flew to Alberta to donate the organ to someone she may never meet.
The 43-year-old mother from Quispamsis said she always wanted to find a way to help others.
"For me, it was truly a life-changing, second chance," Joudrey said.
"People who donate hundreds of hours, or they adopt crack babies or they're out feeding the homeless and handing out blankets at midnight in uptown Saint John — to me, that seems more difficult and more exceptional than what I've done."
Now back at home, Joudrey says she "feels great," and shrugs off the impact of her sacrifice.
However, those on the receiving end say she set off a chain reaction that saved several lives.
Under the Living Paired Exchange program, when Joudrey gave her kidney to a registered patient who was a compatible match, that patient's healthy partner then gave a kidney to another registered patient listed as a match.
Michelle Thibideau, a spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services, said the process is simple.
"I'm not your match but you and I may be friends or relatives or just somebody in general who wants to help you," she said.
"So we register as a pair."
When a match is found, the registry facilitates a swap between two sets of kidney donors and recipients in paired exchanges.
Judy Cannon suffered acute renal failure 22 years ago, after giving birth to her twins. She can't speak for Joudrey's recipient, but said she can testify that she got her world back when she received a new kidney.
"For me, it was truly a life-changing, second chance," Cannon said.
Canadian Blood Services says 113 transplants have been completed since the Living Paired Exchange program began in 2009, because of people like Joudrey.
Joudrey said in a year's time her recipient's identity may be revealed to her. Her husband, Paul, said it "would be extraordinary" to meet the recipient
"When the time is right and if it could happen, it would be great to meet this person," he said.