Is it luck at first swipe? A mom's life is about to change forever. Erika Bragan, a 47-year old mother of two, who is in dire need of a kidney transplant because of a genetic disorder, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), will receive her kidney from a goodhearted donor. It turns out, her friend's Tinder date volunteered to donate her kidney.
Rich O'Dea, 43, a close friend of the Bragans, met his date, Jennifer Thomas, 35 years old, after swiping right in Tinder, a widely-used dating app. When the two talked during the date, O'Dea mentioned about Erika's condition and that she has been in the kidney donor's list for nearly three years.
Being a mother too, Thomas was empathetic and understood what Bragan was feeling. Just a couple of days after the date, she reached out and said that she'd decided to be a kidney donor.
"I was surprised to hear from her," O'Dea said.
"I didn't realize she was completely serious about being a kidney donor. We were on a Tinder date, after all," he added.
The two mothers were in touch and became close friends. It took about three months for the whole matching procedure. It entails series of blood works, urine collection and CT scans. After all the tests were done, it was determined that Thomas was a perfect match for Bragan.
"Jennifer is our angel, she came down from heaven and blessed us," Scott Bragan, Erika's husband said.
"Everything happens for a reason and as weird as it sounds, we have a dating app to thank for saving my wife's life," he added.
Erika Bragan was diagnosed with PKD almost 14 years ago during her first pregnancy. Scott was a match for her but due to his medications for high blood pressure, he was removed from the list of potential donors.
Desperate to find a cure for his wife, Scott turned to marathon and spearheaded fund raising events by his team, Team Tampa PKD. For the past six years, they raised a total of $125,000 for PKD research.
Recently, Erika Bragan's condition became worse as her kidney's function was down to just 5 percent. All the laboratory works were compressed into just a few days to pave way for the emergency operation to be done on Nov. 18.
"I felt for Erika. I'm a mom and she's a mom and I just couldn't imagine being in her shoes and her children losing their mother. I knew I had to find a way to help her," Erika Thomas, who has a 9-year-old son said.
Team Tampa PKD plans to raise funds for Erika and her son after the surgery.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) leads to the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys. When these fluid-filled cysts become larger, they could damage the kidneys. Thus, kidney failure happens.
This condition is the world's most common inherited kidney disease. Worldwide, around 12 million people suffer from this condition and 50 percent of them are expected to have kidney failure when they reach 60 years old.