The donation chain began with Maggie Ervin, a 34-year-old San Francisco woman who agreed to contribute a kidney as an altruistic donor.
The recipient is Fernando Rico, whose friend, Guadalupe Ramirez was not a match for him, but will donate to another patient on his behalf. That patient's sister will then donate yet another kidney, to a third recipient.
The surgeries began early Wednesday morning and continued throughout the day. Maggie Ervin told ABC7 she was inspired to donate after listening to a documentary.
"I was walking around town, listening to podcasts, and there was this one about this woman who donated a kidney. Her name was Kaya. She lives in Brooklyn, and I just found I kept going back to it in my mind. Her and that story," she recalled.
The third kidney is being sent to Cornell University, which is also organizing a multiple patient transplant, meaning the number of people who ultimately benefit from the chain of unmatched donors could climb.