Two years ago, Gene Borys started to suffer kidney failure.

The Ottawa resident, who received his first kidney transplant from a deceased donor 11 years earlier in Vancouver, talked about options with his wife, Kelly Shannon, who offered to give him one of hers.

Unfortunately, Shannon wasn’t a compatible match.

But somehow, it all worked out when an anonymous live kidney donor came forward.

What resulted was the region’s first “domino surgery” in late 2008 at the Ottawa Hospital, where three people received kidneys.

“We’re very thankful for that,” said Borys, 54, at a news conference at Canadian Blood Services in south Ottawa Thursday afternoon.

Thursday’s event launched the national Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry, which is designed to match live kidney donors with suitable recipients who are suffering from end-stage renal disease and are in need of a transplant.

Often, healthy people are willing to give a kidney to a family member or friend in need, but are unable, because their blood group or tissue type is incompatible, said Dr. Ed Cole with the University Health Network.

But in a paired exchange, a swap can be made between sets of kidney donors and recipients.

“It reduces waiting time for all those on the list,” said Cole. “Those on the deceased donor list would benefit too, because the person that received the kidney would otherwise have to go onto a donor list.”