Sometimes, all it takes is one person to pay it forward. One recent kidney transplant proves how a single person’s act of kindness can change the lives of several patients desperately needing organs.

In a groundbreaking procedure, four women donated their kidneys to four men (an exchange including three sets of husbands and wives), an operation which occurred on March 3 and took several hours. The eight people involved in the kidney swap at Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center met for the first time face-to-face Thursday, embracing one another and commenting, “We’re related now.”

“All eight surgeries occurred on the same day and all procedures were deemed a success,” Dr. David Mulligan, director of the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center and professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, told NBC Connecticut. The procedure “represents the largest internal kidney transplant exchange performed in Connecticut,” he added.

Most patients needing a kidney transplant are placed on a waiting list and must wait for months and even years until they’re able to receive a new organ. According to the National Kidney Foundation, as of September 2014, there are over 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney to be donated. But sometimes even one can make a major difference. This particular exchange all stemmed from one person: an “altruistic donor” named Patricia Menno-Coveney, 61, who said she was inspired by a woman at her church who had also donated her kidney.

Menno-Coveney’s kidney went to David Rennie, who had survived on dialysis for years — and as an act of paying it forward, Rennie’s wife Margaret wanted to donate her kidney. This started a chain reaction: “This eight-person kidney chain here at Yale was sparked by one woman, who wanted to donate her kidney out of the kindness of her heart,” Lisa Carberg of NBC Connecticut states in the video. “She has no relation to any of the other people involved.”

Since four husbands needed kidneys but didn’t match their wives, the swap worked out for everyone. “Our coordinators basically put all the compatibility testing into the computer system, and it threw out this four-way exchange match for us,” Dr. Sanjay Kulkarni, a physician who worked on the transplant procedure, said in the video.

Such a large kidney transplant exchange is rare, although another recent procedure completed at a San Francisco hospital exchanged kidneys between 12 donors and recipients, providing healthy organs to six ill patients.