Children’s Viral Video Plea to Find Kidney Donor for Mom Has Happy Ending

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Diana Zippay, from Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, recently announced on her Facebook page that she has found a lifesaving kidney donor and soon will receive the transplant that will give her a second chance at life.

Zippay said she found a donor through the United Network for Organ Sharing, a national kidney pairing exchange program that matches transplant donors and recipients. Her donor is a 40-year old woman from Philadelphia.

“It’s indescribable,” Zippay, who soon will be 36 years old, told Ben Schmitt in a Tribune-Review news story. “The feeling is like you are floating on clouds. You know you are getting that opportunity to have a second chance at your life.”

Zippay’s search for a kidney donor became widely known after her children made a heartfelt video plea in March, which quickly went viral.

Bailey, who is 8 years old, and Tobias, who is 4, responded with a new thank you video where they hold a sign reading “Our Mommy Is Getting a Kidney Transplant!” and “Thanks To a Living Donor Paired Exchange, Our Mom Will Live!” while you can hear the singer Dido sing her hit song Thank You in the background.

Alport syndrome is a condition caused by mutations or defects in the collagen genes, which are essential for maintaining the integrity of kidney structure. These mutations or defects cause scarring of the glomerular basement membrane (GLM), a structure necessary to help the kidneys filter blood. As the scarring progresses, kidney function worsens, eventually forcing the patient to undergo frequent dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Zippay’s Alport syndrome has forced her into 20 hours a week of dialysis, and because the disease is genetic, a kidney from a family member wouldn’t cure her. On top of this, unfortunately, her husband Jason was not an eligible donor because he is diabetic.

Zippay now hopes the new thank-you video goes as viral as the first one. She believes the previous video helped with donor awareness and played an important role in getting her this transplant.

“I want people to see the video and give them all something uplifting,” she said. “There’s so much bad news out there, I want them to know that somebody is getting a second chance at life.”

Zippay said in the news report that she feels as if the news of a new kidney “really brought a lot of happiness back into our household.”

The transplant will take place July 25 at Allegheny General Hospital, in Pittsburgh. Allegheny General Hospital performs about 100 kidney transplants a year.


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