Woman finds kidney donor through TikTok

A young woman found a kidney donor after she posted a funny video on TikTok about her dire health situation.

University of Oklahoma student Katie Hallum was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, an incurable disorder, and was informed by her doctors that she needed a kidney transplant.

“I went into kidney failure and I had a massive seizure at the hospital and I was hospitalised for eight days,” Katie Hallum told KOCO.

She made light of her diagnosis by posting a clip of her dramatically entering a room along with overlaid text that read: “POV: I overhear you say you have an O blood type and healthy kidneys.”

The clip was paired with a sound bite from Disney+’s The Mandalorian, lipsynching Pedro Pascal’s dialogue, saying: “You have something I want.” She joked in the caption, “Haha jk, unless…?”

“I posted a few videos kind of mocking my situation,” Ms Hallum told ABC News. But it was the video with the Mandalorian audio that ended up going viral on the platform, with thousands viewing it - including a nursing school student from Topeka, Kansas named Savannah Stallbaumer, who ended up commenting, “How do I get tested?”

At first, Ms Hallum was uncertain about the Kansas native’s offer, “There’s a possibility her kidney could die in me and she told me as long as it bought me a few years off of dialysis. She didn’t care. She wanted to do this.”

Ms Stallbaumer explained to the outlet that she was eager to help someone in need, saying: “Imagine I actually can, like, help this girl, and I didn’t do anything about it?”

She ended up undergoing testing and learned that she was Hallum’s perfect match. Ms Stallbaumer surprised Ms Hallum in person with her family at a restaurant. The nursing school student told the outlet that it was a “priority” for her to tell Ms Hallum the news in person.

She delivered the news by holding up a sign that read “BREAKING NEWS: You’re getting a new kidney,” referencing Ms Hallum's gig as a reporter for her local station. The sign also revealed that the transplant was scheduled for 17 August 2023.

Ms Hallum reportedly found it “humbling” how the nursing school student was willing to help a stranger in need.

“To know that Savannah, who only knew me from the internet, was so willing to give up a part of herself, it was incredibly humbling,” Hallum said to the outlet. “It definitely does not feel like something life-changing has happened, even though it has. And I think there’s a certain beauty to that.”

The radio station reporter’s kidney transplant went as planned in August, and her doctors are reportedly happy with the progress she’s made with her recovery. Because of the experience, Ms Hallum and Ms Stallbaumer have become friends, with Ms Hallum saying that her family even invited her donor over for Christmas this year.