- A college student with incurable kidney disease found a donor on TikTok
- Katie Hallum called her donor her ‘hero,’ and the two have become friends
- READ MORE: Pig kidney transplanted in a human lasted for TWO MONTHS
Katie Hallum, a student at the University of Oklahoma, was diagnosed with the incurable kidney disease IGA nephropathy when she went into kidney failure and suffered a massive seizure.
Last summer, she posted a video on her TikTok account with text on it reading, ‘POV: I overhear you say you have an O blood type and healthy kidneys.’ The text played over the sound, ‘You have something I want.’
Savannah Stallbaumer, another college student, came across the video and offered up her own kidney in the comments.
She wrote, ‘Yes I really do want to know. I’m on lists to donate bone marrow but not… organs! I would be more than willing to give you a kidney!’
Savannah Stallbaumer offered her kidney to Katie Hallum after commenting on Ms Hallum’s TikTok video about her rare kidney condition
Ms Hallum wrote on Facebook: ‘Words will never be enough to express the depth of my feelings for your sacrifice. You saved my life. You once told me you were working to be a nurse because you wanted to be someone’s hero—but I can tell you now you’re already mine’
Ms Hallum wrote on Facebook: ‘I couldn’t believe it when she first suggested it. In fact, I outright ignored her at first. I couldn’t fathom someone who I just met being so adamant on saving my life—but she persisted.
‘Even then, I refused to get my hopes up at the likelihood of her even being my match. Against all odds—she was.’
The two became friends before they even knew if Ms Stallbaumer would be a match. However, once the match was confirmed, she surprised Ms Hallum with the news while she was out to dinner with family.
‘It was very emotional. Other people were crying too in the restaurant just watching it,’ Ms Stallbaumer told local news station KOCO News 5.
IGA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, occurs when the germ-fighting protein immunoglobulin A (IgA) builds up in the kidneys, resulting in inflammation that makes it difficult for the kidneys to filter waste from the body.
The condition is progressive, and patients often don’t notice any symptoms for 10 years or more.
When symptoms do appear, they include blood in the urine, foamy urine, pain on one or both sides of the back, swelling in the hands and feet, high blood pressure, and fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic.
IGA nephropathy is extremely rare, occurring in 2.5 out of 100,000 people every year. In some cases, like Ms Hallum’s, it can lead to kidney failure, which is fatal if left untreated.
On August 17, 2023, Ms Stalbaumer donated her kidney to Ms Hallum. Both women have recovered from the surgeries successfully.
However, a risk associated with organ transplants is the possibility of the recipient rejecting the new organ – but Ms Hallum has not reported any issues as of yet.
Ms Hallum wrote on Facebook: ‘We just recently became friends in the last year, yet she’s already so many things to me.
‘A trusted confidante, someone I can share a laugh with, a person I can gossip with, someone who I admire for working so hard, and more importantly—she’s the girl who saved my life.
‘Words will never be enough to express the depth of my feelings for your sacrifice. You saved my life. You once told me you were working to be a nurse because you wanted to be someone’s hero—but I can tell you now you’re already mine.’