First successful transplant donor recalled in Maine

Posted Jan. 03, 2011, at 5:53 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 03, 2011, at 6:12 a.m.
Ronald Herrick poses for a photograph at his home in Belgrade, Maine, in 2004. Herrick made medical history when he donated one of his kidneys to his twin brother Richard 56 years ago in what's recognized as the world's first successful organ transplant. Richard lived eight years after receiving the transplant. Ronald died Monday, Dec. 27, 2010, in Augusta, Maine. He was 79.  (AP Photo/Joel Page, File)
Ronald Herrick poses for a photograph at his home in Belgrade, Maine, in 2004. Herrick made medical history when he donated one of his kidneys to his twin brother Richard 56 years ago in what's recognized as the world's first successful organ transplant. Richard lived eight years after receiving the transplant. Ronald died Monday, Dec. 27, 2010, in Augusta, Maine. He was 79. (AP Photo/Joel Page, File)

WINTHROP, Maine — A memorial service is being held for a Maine man who donated his kidney to his dying twin brother 56 years ago in what is recognized as the world’s first successful organ transplant.

Ronald Herrick of Belgrade died a week ago at the age of 79. A memorial celebration of his life is being held Monday afternoon at Roberts Funeral Home in Winthrop.

Herrick made history in 1954 when he donated a kidney to his twin brother, Richard, at what is now the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Because they were identical twins, there was no problem with rejection.

The operation on Dec. 23, 1954, kept Herrick’s brother alive for eight years. Lead surgeon Dr. Joseph Murray went on to win a Nobel Prize.

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