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Guelph donor recovering following successful kidney transplant surgery

Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, a Stouffville woman has finally received the kidney she’s been waiting three years for, after social media connected her to a living donor in Guelph.

Lucy Latino received the life-saving kidney transplant Friday.

She was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis about 15 years ago.

That form of kidney disease can cause scarring of the kidney and ultimately lead to kidney failure.

“In the last five years, my health had declined so much,” Latino said.

In 2020, Lucy was added to a donor wait list before starting dialysis treatment. At the time, doctors told her it could take seven to 10 years before she found a match.

“Her health was declining. We knew we didn’t have that time,” said Latino’s daughter Danielle.

MAKING A MATCH

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, more than 3,700 Canadians were on a transplant wait list at the end of 2022.

“It’s very challenging whenyou can't help someone that you adore,” said Danielle.

Lucy’s family launched an online campaign to spread the word about her need for a donor in hopes of finding a match.

Two years later they connected with Claire Yuricek from Guelph.

“I had donated blood and I shared my story on Instagram and tagged Canadian Blood Services,” explained Yuricek. “They re-shared it to their story and Danielle had just given my story a little cheer emoji, like a hand clap.”

“She noticed the clap response and went through our families Instagram profile and called to reach out,” said Danielle.

‘I LOVE YOU’

The two were deemed a match earlier this year and met for the first time on Friday, just hours before the transplant surgery.

“First thing I said to her was ‘I love you’. It’s so hard to express the gratitude I have and the love you have for this person, even though you don’t know them,” said Latino.

Following a successful surgery, the two are recovering at Toronto General Hospital and are expected to be discharged over the next few days.

“I would want someone, out of the kindness of their heart to do for my mom, what I’m able to do for Lucy,” said Yuricek.

The two have since formed a bond that will last a lifetime.

“She’s a part of me physically, like she’s literally a part of me,” said Latino. “There’s angels in heaven and I’ll say this, and I’ll keep saying this – mine walks on earth.”

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