by George Taniwaki

A video recently posted on Real American Stories focuses on the story of Sandie Andersen, a barista at a Starbucks in Tacoma, WA. One day she learns that one of her regular customers has end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and needs a kidney transplant. She immediately decides that she will donate a kidney to her. Only one problem, she doesn’t know the customer’s name! She eventually learns the name of customer is Annamarie Ausnes and they completed their transplant in 2008. The story of this donor-recipient pair was mentioned in a May 2010 blog post.


Annamarie Ausnes and Sandie Andersen. Video still from Fox News


ABC Person of the Week. Video still from ABC

A different kind of kidney transplant chain

Sandie and Annamarie’s story has inspired another donor-recipient pair. After seeing the story about Ms. Anderson’s gift of life, Laurie Sobocinski, a nurse at GroupHealth decided she would find a way to follow the same path. The very next day, a coworker mentioned that her son-in-law Ryan Campbell, a pilot for Frontier, was looking for a donor. The two matched and the transplant was completed in April 2010.

All four met earlier this year, an event shown in the video above. Three news stories about Ryan and Laurie are shown below.


Ryan Campbell and Laurie Sobocinski. Video still from Fox News


Ryan Campbell and Laurie Sobocinski. Video still from Fox News


Laurie Sobocinski gets a free makeover. Video still from Fox News

Much thanks to Rich Bloch, a kidney patient advocate and board member for the Northwest Kidney Centers Foundation, for passing on links to the first and third videos to me. And thanks to Ryan Campbell, the recipient in the second story, for providing the links to the other three videos.