When doctors told Jerry Wilde he would need another kidney transplant, he knew his rare blood type made for a precarious prognosis. “I thought, ‘Well this just isn’t going to happen,’” he says. “‘I’m just going to wither away.’” But everything changed when he mentioned his search for a new kidney on Facebook: Leah Hostalet, an acquaintance, saw the post and set up a page called, “Find A Kidney For Jerry,” which her friend Becky Melton happened upon while she was absentmindedly browsing Facebook one day. Becky had never met Jerry, but she was inspired by the chance to help someone in need, and after discovering the two were a positive match, she decided to give him her kidney. The transplant took place in 2012, and Jerry has been healthy ever since.
The successful match made Leah, the one who set up the Facebook page, realize how social media could transform the donor match process, so she started Find A Kidney Central, a Facebook page where those in need of a kidney could use the expansive social network to find a donor. The page has been up for a year, and matched up donors for 38 transplants so far. “My plans are to keep this page running and spread as much awareness as possible,” says Leah. “I’ll take it wherever it leads me. I feel like I’m meant to do this.” Say it with me now: “Awwww!” It’s so good to be reminded that Facebook can be used for more than just stalking exes and posting pictures of waffles. [People]