TAMPA (CBS Tampa) – Swipe right for a kidney.
While Tinder is usually considered a dating app, a Tampa woman was able to use it to find a match for the kidney transplant she so desperately needed.
Erika Bragen was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease.
Her husband, Scott Bragen, told WFTS-TV that he’s astounded by the kindness of a stranger.
“Through a Tinder blind date, of all things, it was a connection, but it was a connection about hope and about saving a life,” Bragen said.
Rich O’Dea, a friend of the couple, made a connection with Jennifer Thomas on Tinder. After she learned of Erika Bragen’s story, she decided to donate her kidney.
“I feel like I have a front row seat to such, just, an amazing miracle,” O’Dea told the station.
Doctors conducted several tests to make sure Bragen’s body wouldn’t reject the new kidney, and they found a match.
The operation took place last week. Erika Bragen was able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with her family, and, of course, the donor.
“I hope that they’ll keep me because I love everyone that I’ve gotten to meet through this whole experience. It’s really changed my life,” Thomas said.
Bragen says she had extra reasons to give thanks this year.
“I’m so thankful for my family, of course, and my friends. I think my kids are thankful that I hopefully will be back to normal,” she said.
“I didn’t realize how sick I felt until after I woke up and they put her kidney in me,” she added, “and it was just like, I felt like my old self again.”
The Bragens, Thomas, and Team Tampa PKD are joining forces to start a national registry for PKD patients.
“Not only do we have today to be thankful for Erika and all of this that’s happened, but more people are waking up. They want to help, and that is everything I ever wanted,” Thomas explained.