Donated kidneys giving hope for new life, faith in humanity

It's something Ryane Burns hasn't been able to say in years.

"I feel good," she said. "A lot better than I did before hand."

But that recently changed.

The 15-year-old, after waiting for a year on a donor list and struggling her entire life with failing kidneys, got a kidney last week.

Since December, UAB Hospital has done 13 transplants. They were all from people donating not to a certain person but for a cause.

Paula Kok was the first to donate.

"If you can give them shelter during a storm and you can give them food...go a step further and really give them a part of you," Kok said.

That kind of mentality and generosity has now spread.

"It's a gift of life," Ryane's father, Jason Burns, said.

Burns remembers getting the news when a kidney was available for his daughter.

"You can't explain it," he said. "It's like God's gift. You pray and you pray and you pray and start questioning after a period of time and all the sudden God answers your prayers."

And God's answered prayers, he says, is now leading him to God's calling.

Next month he will be the 14th person to randomly donate his kidney.

"I'm kind of paying it forward for [Ryane] to receive one," he said. "I'm actually going to donate my own."

An appreciation of life that links strangers to random acts of kindness.

And hopeful that chain will not be broken.

"I say 'Go for it'," Ryane said. "I wouldn't be able to be here today without it."

And last week's winter weather did not stop the transplants. UAB Hospital, while many workers were stuck, completed eight transplants.