A Western New York man is showing why Buffalo is called the City of Good Neighbors. Ken Burke donated his kidney to a total stranger when he heard there was a serious need.

What You Need To Know

  • Western New York resident gives his kidney to a stranger
  • The recipient is now feeling healthy enough to even go hiking
  • The donor encourages other to consider giving

"I happened upon a post of a young woman who was looking for a kidney. She seemed like she was having a pretty rough go. It spoke to me. I read her story. I took a day and I thought about it and thought, 'That must be pretty terrible. She must feel pretty alone,' ” he says.

In March, Burke, a Buffalo Bills fan, drove all the way from Buffalo to Boston, to give his kidney to Cassie Yahnian, a woman in her twenties who he had never even met, and who happens to be a New England Patriots fan.

"There's one Patriots fan out there that's got a Bills fan inside of her. You know, she may be a Patriots fan on the outside, but she's a Bills fan on the inside," Burke adds.

"I hope that there's other people out there who are in my situation and it kind of gives them hope that there's more people like Ken that are willing to donate and help them," says Yahnian.

As the world was facing the coronavirus pandemic, Yahnian and Burke were recovering from their procedures. And while many were feeling stifled from the shut-in, for the first time in months, Yahnian was feeling free. 

Leading up to the surgery, her life was filled with daily dialysis treatments, just struggling to keep her kidney disease from worsening. And now, she's feeling so much better.

"I feel great. It was crazy. After surgery, after I got out of the hospital, within two weeks, I started hiking," she says.

As for Burke, he says that if he had to go back in time, he wouldn't hesitate to make the same decision again and donate his kidney.