Israel celebrated a special milestone Sunday, as the Matnat Chaim organization, which encourages and facilitates living kidney donations, broke a world record by marking its 1,000th transplant.
Since Matnat Chaim was founded in 2009, the number of kidney donations in Israel has quadrupled.
The organization’s data reveals that about two-thirds of the donors are men and a third are women, and that 40% of all donors are teachers or educators. The organization’s work is estimated to have saved the state some NIS 4 billion ($1.2 billion) by decreasing the need for treatments, hospitalization and medication for patients with kidney disease.
The COVID pandemic led to an increase in the number of donations. Some weeks, the organization said, it oversaw five to nine kidney transplants. An especially large number of donations occurred when Matnat Chaim’s founder Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Heber, zt”l, passed away after having contracted COVID-19.
Kidney recipient Kobi Oshrat told Yisrael Hayom that since he received the transplant “life has been wonderful.”
“The transplant was more successful than expected. My physical condition improved tremendously. I am back to being a young man. I feel wonderful, active, I do sports and perform,” he said.
Oshrat’s donor was Yoav Matityahu, and Oshrat says, “We have become a family. He and his wife are wonderful people. Those who decide to donate a kidney are undeniably saving a life. And all of this is happening here, in Israel. It’s amazing.”