COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– A Manitou Springs Army lieutenant colonel named Matt Cavanaugh donated his left kidney to a complete stranger in Seattle on Sept. 15, 2021.

In 2020, 350 Americans donated a kidney, a life-saving organ donation that can extend the recipient’s life by at minimum 10 years without needing another donation. Some kidney recipients have been able to function normally with a kidney donation for even forty years.

There are a number of organizations working to connect donors to recipients such as the National Kidney Registry or the National Kidney Donation Organization.

Before anyone can donate their kidney like Lt. Col. Cavanaugh, they must be cleared by a doctor in order to ensure that the donor’s health is in appropriate shape to undergo such a procedure. Potential donors must also undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure that they are mentally sound and are not being coerced.

Part of the donation process includes a voucher for the donor and five vouchers for family members that will move them to the front of the transplant list, should an event arise where the donor needs a kidney.

Today, 100,000 Americans are on the kidney transplant waitlist. They only need one to save their lives. One thousand of that number are kids, and 5,000 individuals on the list died last year waiting for a transplant.