MUNCIE, INDIANA—March is National Kidney Month. Matthew Peiffer and Kris Swanson became forever connected when Peiffer donated his kidney.
Peiffer and Swanson met in 2019 and have kept up a friendship ever since. When Peiffer heard that he was in need of a transplant, he felt inclined to check to see if he was a match for Swanson.
“Kris needed one and I thought, well I’ll just sign up, see what the process is like and go through it, I don’t have anything to lose or gain from doing it,” Peiffer said.
Swanson, a Muncie Police Department Detective, was in need of a kidney donation as it was failing. He had two options: find a donor, or get on dialysis.
“I was a young police officer on the force when I found out that I had kidney damage and down the line would need a transplant,” Swanson said.
Peiffer found out that he had an incompatible blood type for Swanson, but he agreed to a paired exchange, which involved four people.
Peiffer was a donor to a person in the same situation as he and Swanson. The other paired person gave Swanson their kidney, so one person in each pair got a successful transplant.
“My doctor was great, when I first woke up he was like ‘you got a big kidney’ and I was like ‘what’ and he said ‘that guy had a big kidney’ and he said he had to try to fit it in my abdomen since it was so big,” Swanson said.
On November 16, Peiffer and Swanson became forever friends. Peiffer was the first to get his surgery as the donor.
“I was nervous, I thought I would be knocked out before going into the operating room,” Peiffer said.
Swanson was next. On November 18, getting his new kidney in his abdomen.
“Obviously they put an organ inside of my abdomen so everything has been kind of shifting around, at first it stuck out really far, and then it pulled back in,” Swanson said.
Matt said it was an easy decision when he knew that it would change Swanson’s life.
“That was another part for me, his kids, some of them are so young, and how could I watch them grow up without the person that they love, and I couldn’t do that so it was relief knowing he would be in their life for weddings and graduations and birthdays,” Peiffer said.
Both are still recovering as the process could take up to six months. Swanson said he can do things easier now like exercising and not feeling fatigued.
Contact Jake Garcia with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org