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Donating Kidneys A Family Affair

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"I believe the reason we all have two kidneys when we only need one is because we were meant to give one away," Cynthia Bowers told the Deseret News Wednesday.

That's why Bowers and her her two daughters, Laura Wickam, 32, and Alyson Bowers, 26, have each donated a kidney to a stranger in need. Their acts of goodwill have made them the first family in the United States to have three living donors give organs through the Good Samaritan Kidney Donor Program.

"A lot of people don't donate because they worry about the future -- what if one of their family members needs a kidney someday?" [Cynthia said]. "Yes, the recipients of 'Good Sam' kidneys are strangers, but they have hopes and dreams like anyone else. Once you've given to a stranger, there's a bond there that can't be broken."

The family also has a very personal reason to become donors -- Cynthia's oldest daughter died of cancer when she was 25.

"There was no chance of saving her," she says quietly, "but for somebody who needs a new kidney, there is a chance. I realized that I could make a difference for somebody else's son or daughter."

There are currently 105,499 transplant candidates awaiting organ donations in the U.S. You can learn more about becoming an organ donor at Organdonor.gov. You can read more about the Bower family's story at Deseretnews.com.