An American donated his kidney to a Korean patient in his 40s on Thursday. The 28-year-old Gabriel Andrus became the first foreigner to donate an organ to a stranger.
"Kidneys can be transplanted between different races, not only between people with different blood types," said Han Deok-jong at the University of Ulsan's Asan Medical Center in Seoul after the transplant operation. "As the donor is very healthy, the patient who received his kidney is expected to quickly recover."
Andrus first grew interested in Korea when he befriended Korean students as a theology PhD candidate at Harvard. Inspired by his friendships, he decided to visit Korea for three months of language study in 2012. After mastering Korean, he now teaches theology at Hannam University in Daejeon.
"I was searching for a way to give a true gift. I was hoping to find a moment of altruism -- a moment where I existed for another person. I was trying to give a gift without any reason or motivation or debt," Andrus said.
"I was hoping to do something for other people merely because it is good to do something for other people. I hope to find true beauty in living for other people -- not just in donating an organ, but during every day of my life," he added.
His kidney was transplanted to the patient, identified only by his surname Kim, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2006.
"I only started caring about other people once I became ill," Kim said, adding that he is now sincerely thankful for his donor's generous gift.