SAN DIEGO — A 14-year-old girl on Tuesday met the woman who gave her a kidney. It was the first time Kassidy Thomas met the stranger who saved her life.
Kassidy was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) seven years ago. FSGS causes scar tissue to form on areas of the kidneys that clean the body's blood supply. In 2016, Kassidy’s care team at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego determined she would need to be placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
Kassidy’s family also launched an online campaign to search for a good Samaritan willing to serve as a living donor for the teen. More than 500 people volunteered to go through the assessment process to see if they were a match for Kassidy. Two were and surgeries were even scheduled to be performed but were canceled due to antibody compatibility issues.
Meanwhile, a woman name Bristol Hartage had approached UC San Diego Health with her interest in living organ donation. After no match opportunities with UCSD Health arose, they connected with Rady Children’s and found that Bristol’s kidney was a “prime match” for Kassidy.
Bristol and Kassidy underwent surgeries with Dr. Jennifer Berumen who performs pediatric transplants at Rady Children's and adult transplants at UC San Diego Health.
Kassidy has had her new kidney since January and now got the chance to reunite with her surgeon and thank Bristol face-to-face.
According to her doctors and family, Kassidy is thriving and just graduated middle school. She is excited to be starting high school in the fall.