Kidney donor found via Twitter, Facebook
Daughter of Arizona patient uses social media to find donor, encourage others
Kirti D. shed new light on the power of social media by using it to help her mother, Anuradha D., find a kidney donor. Anuradha, known to her family as Tiny Mom, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2002. At that time her kidney function was less than 50 percent, and doctors gave her less than seven years to live.
Diet, medication, yoga and homeopathy helped Anuradha control her disease and symptoms. But despite her efforts, Anuradha's kidney function fell to less than 20 percent, and by October 2010 she was placed on the transplant waiting list.
A long wait
Anuradha had already outlived the prognosis given by her doctors, but her daughter Kirti knew that waiting another six years on the transplant list was more than her mother could endure. In hopes of finding a living donor for her mom and helping others experiencing organ failure, Kirti started a Facebook page and shared links to it via her Twitter account.
The gift of social media
After three months of sharing updates about her mom's health and educating Facebook fans about live organ donation, a friend indicated she was interested in learning more and asked Kirti to call her.
"You have one mom. I have two kidneys. Let's do this."
Kirti had originally met comedian "FabAmy" through Twitter and Yelp. They had followed each other for several months and had even met for a real-life dinner about a year earlier. When they talked on the phone that night, "FabAmy," Amy Kopinski Donohue, said, "You have one mom. I have two kidneys. Let's do this."
A match made online
Amy had blood drawn on January 26, and by February 24 she received the news that she was a preliminary match. Next she went through four weeks of rigorous testing, including labs, an electrocardiogram, a CT scan, a mammogram, a psychological evaluation and other consultations with transplant specialists from the Mayo Clinic.
On March 15, 2011, Amy and Anuradha were declared a match, and surgery at Mayo Clinic Transplant Center in Arizona was scheduled for a month later. Kirti, now partnering with Amy, continued to use the Facebook page and other social media outlets to help organize fundraising events and defray expenses associated with the transplant.
"It's amazing to think that, without Twitter, [Amy] and I may have never met or even made a connection," says Kirti.
On her kidney donor FaceBook page, Kirti writes "Thank you, Amy Kopinski Donohue for your amazing giftthank you for giving me the chance to celebrate many more Mother's Days with my mother. I am so grateful."
1 donor can save 8 lives and enhance 50 others
Since doctors performed the first kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic in 1963, thousands of organ recipients have benefited from Mayo's transplant leaders. Today, Mayo Clinic is the largest transplant center in the country and a leader in transplant research.