Digital Life
Nokyoung Xayasane
February 19, 2013

Facebook Can Help You Find a Life-Saving Kidney Donor

Need a life-saving kidney fast? Facebook is the way to go.

Jerry Wilde can thank the social networking site and his FB friend Leah Hostalet for his new kidney.

Jerry Wilde and Leah Hostalet after his kidney transplant (Photo credit: Leah Hostalet)

When Wilde found out he needed another kidney transplant, he knew it would be hard finding a match because of his rare blood type. He also knew he didn’t have very much time. The waiting list for a new kidney was two-and-a-half to three years.

“I didn’t think I’d survive that long,” said Wilde, a psychology professor at Indiana University East. “I thought, ‘Well this just isn’t going to happen. I’m just going to wither away.'”

But Facebook came to the rescue.

Wilde posted about his ordeal on the site, not knowing that one of his FB friends would start a page called “Find a Kidney for Jerry.” One of Hostalet’s friends Becky Melton saw the page and decided to help.

“I was looking for purpose in my life. It just struck me,” said Melton. “I thought, ‘I want to do this. This is my guy. I am going to give him my kidney.’ ”

Melton discovered she was a match and texted Wilde a photo of herself holding a sign with two kidneys and the caption: “We’re a match!”

“I was standing in the living room in shock,” he said. “I had never met this person. It’s like, who does this for a complete stranger?”

The kidney transplant was performed without a hitch on February 24, 2012 and Wilde has been healthy ever since.

The Find a Kidney for Jerry Facebook page has spawned Find a Kidney Central. Since its start-up in 2012, the site has matched donors with recipients for 38 transplants.

Check it out here if you want to “share your spare” or you’re looking for a life-saving kidney.