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67-year-old inspires others through kidney donation to stranger

One Williamsville woman's selfless donation leads to a chain reaction that will save five lives.

At 67 years old, Jean Grosso of Williamsville is donating her kidney to a stranger.

"People act very surprised," Grosso said, "when they ask me who I'm donating to, and I say, 'I don't know.' "  

We first introduced you to her in December, when she made the selfless decision. Since then, she has traveled to the Cleveland Clinic to go through extensive testing to determine if she could be a donor.

"They had a whole board that discusses whether I was a candidate or not," she said, "and they decided I could move to the next level."

Once she was approved it did not take long to find a match.

"Within 45 minutes, they had found somebody," Grosso said.

"Every time the phone rang I would be like, 'Is that Cleveland?' " Grosso said. "And then when it finally was, I was like, 'Hello, hello?' And as I said, I am so excited. I can't imagine how the recipient felt because they have probably been waiting for three, four years."

Grosso and her husband, Len, also discovered that her donation started a chain reaction and will save five lives.

"Jean will give the kidney to the recipient, the recipient's relative will give a kidney to someone else, and it goes in a chain like that ... five donors and five recipients" Len Grosso said.

Valentines Day is also National Donor Day, and Unyts of Western New York says there are 114,000 people nationwide waiting for transplants.

"Right here in New York State, close to 10,000 people are waiting," said UNYTS of WNY's Marketing Director, Sarah Diina. "So again it's a huge need the list continues to grow, and it's an easy thing to do."

Grosso will head back to the Cleveland Clinic for surgery on February 28.

"Fortunately, I have been very very healthy," Grosso said, "and if I can help somebody else to live a much healthier life, why not?"