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Special Report - Kidney Club


Most people would do anything to help a family member or a friend. But how far would you go to help someone you didn't know? One group is donating their organs to complete strangers. 7's Sorboni Banerjee introduces us to members of this "Kidney Club."

Laureta, Kidney Recipient
"Thank you so much."

Laureta is grateful to be alive. The 44 year-old from South Boston is getting another shot at life, thanks to a kidney transplant. But Laureta isn't thanking a relative or an organ bank; she's thanking the Jesus Christians.

Laureta, Kidney Recipient
"Jayme changed my life."

Thirty year-old Jayme belongs to this very small religious group. There are only a few dozen members worldwide.

Jayme Kronmiller, Jesus Christian/Kidney Donor
"We believe in living by faith and working for God."

And while many church members donate money, the Jesus Christians donate their organs to perfect strangers.

Jayme Kronmiller, Jesus Christian/Kidney Donor
"Our message just boils down to loving God and loving others."

Jayme met Laureta through an organ donation website at a time when Laureta's family was losing hope.

Laureta, Kidney Recipient / Silva, Laureta's Daughter, Translating
"She would cry every day and it was a depressing time for her."

Jayme, who has been living and traveling with his twin brother Jeremy in this motor home, made the trip to Boston specifically to save Laureta's life. And he's not the only one to make this lifesaving decision. His brother Jeremy donated his kidney last year.

Jeremy Kronmiller, Jesus Christian/Kidney Donor
"If I could do it again, I would do it again. I see it as a good thing."

Since 2001, 21 members of the Jesus Christians have donated their kidneys to complete strangers. They also give up all of their individual possessions and give whatever money they receive to the group. And while they are allowed to marry, many of them choose celibacy.

Jeremy Kronmiller, Jesus Christian/Kidney Donor
"The single life is a better life, is the preferred option if one wants to follow God and try to live a Godly life."

And although donating kidneys has become a big part of this religious group, the founder, Dave McKay, says it's not a requirement.

"...I basically teach them to follow their conscience and to let the teachings of Jesus be their guide...I feel it must be each person's own decision whether or not to donate."

And the Jesus Christians say they are no strangers to skeptics, some who call them a "kidney cult."

Bob Pardon, New England Institute of Religious Research
"The difficulty I think comes in when it looks like that your spirituality could possibly be being measured by you doing this kind of radical self-sacrifice."

But for Laureta, it was a sacrifice that saved her.

Laureta, Kidney Recipient / Silva, Laureta's Daughter, Translating
"She's very happy and it's unbelievable, she's saying, that someone, a stranger, can step forward and donate one of his kidneys and give her a second chance in life."

Which is why Jesus Christian members say they're happy and proud to belong to this kidney club.

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