Kidney removed from St. Augustine veteran who donated to stranger

Woman who was awaiting a new kidney also had successful procedure

By Mary Baer - 5, 6 & 10 p.m. anchor, Nick Jones - Digital producer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The U.S. Marine Corps veteran from St. Augustine who agreed to donate his kidney to a stranger had a successful surgery, News4Jax learned Thursday.

Nicholas Flores, 29, was resting at the Mayo Clinic Thursday evening after the early morning procedure. Flores gave his kidney to someone else through the hospital's Paired Donation program.

It started after visiting Leroy's Cafe in St. Augustine, he noticed a sign on the wall, which read: "A Kidney for Allison."

Flores, a father of four, quickly learned about 65-year-old Alison Elkund, who had been on a waiting list for five years. He believed it was no coincidence he saw the card and offered to help.

But a test came back showing Flores was not a compatible donor. Still, all hope wasn't lost after they learned about the Mayo Clinic's Paired Donation program.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sign in diner leads military veteran to save perfect strangers

As it turned out, Flores and Elkund were the missing link to complete a 12-person chain of donors and recipients -- ultimately giving six patients a chance to receive a living donor kidney transplant instead of being on the deceased-donor waiting list for several years.

Forever grateful for his generosity, Elkund was there Thursday night to see Flores after his procedure. Flores' kidney will be given to someone the Mayo Clinic has found is a compatible donor.

Elkund received her new kidney a few hours later. Family told News4Jax her body accepted the kidney, and it was functioning properly.

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