Tony Herrera

KNX Hero of the Week
Thursday, February 6th
Organ donation is a big decision, especially for those who choose to become a living donor. 

Our KNX Hero of the Week is one of the few living donors in the country who has donated two different organs, and he hopes his story will inspire others to do the same.

In the United States, nearly 115,000 people have their names on a transplant waiting list. Most are seeking a kidney. A few years ago, Tony Herrera donated one of his kidneys to help his sister, who desperately needed a life-saving transplant. 

"Because her and I were not a direct match, we decided to go through something called a paired-exchange," explains Tony. "If your loved one needs a kidney and you are not a match, and my loved one needs a kidney but we are not a match, then I donate to your loved one, and you donate to my loved one."  

"That chain [we were in] was a total of 29 people, which was the third-largest in the world, ever."

Tony says his recovery was short, and for the most part, painless. 

KNX 1070 Handout
KNX 1070 Handout

Tony is an Associate Administrator at Keck Medicine of USC.  Last year, he decided he wanted to help someone again, so he teamed up with fellow co-worker Dr. Yuri Genyk to become an altruist liver donor. 

"What Tony did was really saving someone's life," says Dr. Genyk. "And, not just saving the life of the person he donated to, but also saving [another] person's life, because the person Tony donated to won't be on the wait list anymore." 

Ricardo Carrasco III
Ricardo Carrasco III

The portion of liver than Tony donated ultimately saved the life of woman in Ojai. 

Tony says people have a lot to offer, and being a living donor is not as scary as one may think. "You can, overnight, change somebody's life," says Tony. "With effort that is very-well calculated. These surgeons that do these surgeries, and their teams, are amazing! You feel like you're in good hands every single time. So, for me, that's what made my decision easy."

Saving lives through organ donation. Two-time living donor Tony Herrera is our KNX Hero of the Week! 

"I would encourage anybody who is going to go through this, to come into a reputable hospital system such as Keck Medicine of USC, and talk about what the process is," says Tony. "You'd be surprised what little effort it takes, and what a massive impact you can make in someone's life."

KNX Heroes is presented by California Resources Corporation, saluting our military veterans, and all of our heroes! 

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