Organ donors go for world record

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By Nona Tepper

Two local women recently attempted to establish a Guinness World Record by joining more than 400 organ donors at Millennium Park in Chicago.

Shannon Wyatt, of Oak Park, and MaryJo Taira, of River Forest, gathered with kidney and other organ donors for the "Guinness World Record Attempt: Living Donor Rally" on April 21, just in time to recognize National Donate Life Month in April. The Living Donor Rally of those who have donated organs is the first of its kind to seek Guinness recognition, and a final determination from the record agency will be made in two months. Both said they would donate their kidneys again if they could. 

Wyatt donated her kidney in March 2008 to a friend of a friend, who lived five years with a healthy kidney until his disease returned. He is back on dialysis and awaiting another transplant. 

"I would still do it all over again," Wyatt said in a statement. "If I had all the paid time off in the world and 10 kidneys, I would still donate nine of them. I didn't just save his life, but he also saved mine." 

Taira, meanwhile, donated her kidney to her older brother Marty in November 2013. In a statement, she said Marty suffered from Berger's Disease, a condition that occurs when an antibody lodges in your kidneys. Since the transplant, she said he's back up and running his business, traveling and enjoying life. 

"I don't think he would still be around today if he wasn't able to obtain a healthy kidney," she said in a statement. "After going through the donation surgery and recovery, I wish I had another to donate because it was so rewarding to pass on a new life to someone in need. I would do it all over again if I could." 

Nona Tepper

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