Mark Rasmussen of West Tisbury had two good kidneys, and wanted to give one away. Brad Hill of Edgartown was facing death without a kidney transplant.

Near-strangers a year ago, the two men are now recovering from surgery last week, with one of Mr. Rasmussen’s healthy kidneys on the job for each of them.

“He’s a great guy and he saved my life,” Mr. Hill told the Gazette by phone on Wednesday.

Mr. Hill has a long recovery ahead, including trips to Boston every other day for the next two months so doctors can monitor his progress, he said. But the prognosis is good, and he expects to be back on the job by the end of November at his fitness studio, Vineyard Training Center in Vineyard Haven, Mr. Hill said.

“I’ll start slow, and get back to normal,” he said.

Mr. Rasmussen told the Gazette he was inspired by the example of Oak Bluffs businessman Michael DeBettencourt, who in 2018 donated a kidney to Tony daRosa, Mr. DeBettencourt’s father in law.

“I’d love to put a shout-out specifically to Michael. We have discussed this for years, me doing this,” Mr. Rasmussen said in a phone interview.

“I just was inspired . . . that perhaps this is something I could do for somebody else,” he said. “My family has known that I’ve wanted to do this for a while.”

The process wasn’t simple. Mr. Rasmussen had to address his own health needs, including knee surgery and a year of recovery, before doctors would admit him to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital kidney transplant program in late 2022.

“I was going to donate altruistically to someone up at Brigham. I wouldn’t know the recipient,” he said.

Suffering from renal failure, Mr. Hill already was on the registry to receive a kidney at Brigham and Women’s, where the world’s first successful human organ transplant — a kidney — was performed in 1954. 

But the two men connected instead through an Island social media post by Mr. Hill’s daughter Erin last November, Mr. Rasmussen said.

“My daughter Lila Norris saw that post on the day it was put up, and she kicked it to me and said ‘Here, you may be interested in contacting Brad Hill,’” he recalled.

“Shortly after that, I poked my nose into his place of business and told him I was his man . . . if we were a match,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “I was willing to be his donor if it all worked out.”

Nothing like this had ever happened to Mr. Hill before, he told the Gazette.

“I was very shocked [and] I was very happy. I said ‘Yes, if it’s a match, I would love to take it,” Mr. Hill said.

Once lab work proved they were indeed compatible, one delay remained. Mr. Rasmussen, an Island property manager, needed to work through the summer before taking time off for surgery and recovery.

“I look after too many homes [and] there’s too much activity during the season for me to be down,” he said. “We agreed on the fall.”

On Oct. 19, the two men underwent transplant surgery at Brigham and Women’s.

“We both gave each other a big hug before we went to our respective [operating rooms],” Mr. Rasmussen said.

They also saw each other after the operation, he said.

“He was in good shape. I was in good shape. We’ve stayed in touch every day since,” said Mr. Rasmussen, who was discharged on Oct. 20 while Mr. Hill remained until Oct. 24.

The two were reunited the following day when Mr. Rasmussen stopped by Mr. Hill’s home in Edgartown.

“He feels like my brother,” Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Rasmussen’s life-saving gift is also a tribute to a friend who died last summer, he told the Gazette this week.

“His name was John Henry Patterson,” Mr. Rasmussen said, breaking into tears as he spoke the name. “He was an amazing individual... and people should remember him as well,” he said.