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NIEL was a US Navy SEAL sniper who served in Vietnam and he was also very active in his local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post - he usually played Santa Claus for the kids at the VFW Christmas parties.  For whatever reason, his internal organs all began to deteriorate in the 1980's and he was constantly back and forth to the Veteran's Administration hospitals.  His kidneys were rapidly failing and many of his VFW buddies stepped forward to donate one of their kidneys to be transplanted into NIEL - but the government said no.  Apparently the law states that only a relative may donate a kidney to be used for someone specific.  Anyone else, like NIEL's VFW buddies, were only allowed to donate organs into the organ bank to be used for whomever was next in line not for NIEL specifically, so it was not possible for them to help NIEL.  His condition got worse and worse and finally, at the beginning of this century, his kidneys just failed and NIEL slipped away. 

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