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A New Friend Gives New Life

01/07/19

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Photo: Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

The life Joe and Bridget Weissinger share took a shocking turn when Joe’s swollen feet turned into a diagnosis of membranous nephropathy in 2009. While not immediately life threatening, the condition meant long hours on dialysis.

The Weissingers set out to find a donor, asking family and friends to get tested to find out if anyone was a match. The years-long search proved fruitless, inspiring the family to start a “Kidney 4 Joe” Facebook page on Halloween 2017. The ‘likes’ started rolling in as they spread the word, updating their followers on Joe’s condition and his search for a donor.

Casting their net wide proved to be a good idea. They caught the attention of Mary Wagner Bracciale, who happened to be a friend of one of Bridget’s coworkers at Jefferson. After following the page for a while, she finally took the plunge only to find out she was a match.

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Photo: Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

After that, things happened quickly. Mary and Joe were scheduled for surgery on October 16, 2018 at Jefferson’s Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center. According to Drs. Pooja Singh and Ashesh Shah, the Center’s medical and surgical directors, the procedure was uncomplicated, and both donor and recipient have made great progress.

Now the Weissingers and the Bracciales are fast friends, spending time together and sharing more than a kidney.

Read the full story here.