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Guelph woman donates kidney to save a stranger

A Toronto woman is getting a second chance at life thanks to a stranger she connected with through social media.

Lucy Latino is one of around 1,300 Ontarians in need of a life saving organ transplant, according to Ontario Health.

“They’re our angels, they are the ones who are caring me,” she said. “I’m not doing it alone.”

For the past three years, Latino and her family have been on a mission to find a new kidney.

The family of Lucy Latino putting the word out about her need for a new kidney. (Submitted)

They turned to the power of social media to find the perfect match.

“We just hoped that the story would land somewhere and resonate with someone, to feel compelled to help,” Latino’s daughter, Dannielle Latino-Rodrigues, said. “Help sounds like an understatement to save my mothers life.”

The family of Lucy Latino putting the word out about her need for a new kidney. (Submitted)

That’s where Claire Yuricek comes into the picture.

The Guelph resident shared on social media about her blood donation. That post then gained the attention of the Latino family and they began messaging back and forth.

“In this case, when you look specifically at organ donation, there’s no other way our two families would have overlapped,” explained Yuricek. “I wasn’t aware of living organ donation… and I realise it’s a major surgery. To me, it just felt like one more step for what I was already doing.”

Donor Claire Yuricek in an undated photo she shared with CTV News.

Fast forward to the first week of Nov. 2023 and Latino got the call she had been waiting for – she had matched with Yuricek.

“When you’re really sick, you almost don’t see the light,” said Latino. “But my donor Claire has given us so much hope.”

In an email to CTV News, Ontario Health says 35 per cent of Ontarians are registered donors and that someone dies every three days because the organ they needed wasn’t available.

Latino already has plans post-surgery. She wants to spend more time with her loved ones when this is all over.

“I’m so excited to do the things that I’ve missed for a while,” she said.

Kidney recipient Lucy Latino with her family. (Submitted)

According to Ontario Health, anyone over the age of 16 with a valid Ontario health card can register their consent for organ and tissue donation. One donor can also save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance up to 75 lives through tissue donation, they said.

For more information on organ or tissue donation, go to: Top Stories


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