Kidney Donor Found via TikTok


Nov 22, 2023

Kidney Donor Found via TikTok

Life Saving Connection Made on TikTok

Katie Hallum, a 21-year-old journalism and international security student at the University of Oklahoma, found a lifesaver in an unexpected place – TikTok. Diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, a kidney-damaging condition, Katie faced a daunting wait of two to five years for a transplant as she grappled with kidney failure.

In a light-hearted TikTok post in July 2022, Katie humorously sought a kidney donor, syncing to a line from “The Mandalorian”. This post caught the attention of Savannah Stallbaumer, a Kansas-based licensed practical nurse, over 300 miles away. Moved by Katie’s situation and her own experiences with patients on dialysis, Savannah reached out, asking how to get tested for a donation.

Skepticism gave way to hope when tests revealed a perfect match between Katie’s and Savannah’s kidneys. Despite only meeting a few times in person, Savannah selflessly donated her left kidney to Katie in August. This act of kindness not only saved Katie’s life but also forged an unbreakable bond between the two. They’ve since become close friends, planning to spend their first Christmas together post-transplant.

Katie’s ordeal began in early 2020 when symptoms like swollen ankles and unusual changes in her urine led to the diagnosis of IgA nephropathy. An emergency situation in 2021 escalated her condition, leading to seizures and the harsh reality of needing dialysis to survive. While on the transplant waitlist, Katie used TikTok not only as a coping mechanism but also to spread awareness about her condition.

Savannah’s decision to donate was not taken lightly. It involved a series of thorough medical tests and introspective questioning about the potential future implications of living with one kidney. Her determination to help Katie remained steadfast.

The transplant, conducted at Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, was a success. Katie, who once relied on dialysis and a host of medications, now enjoys renewed health and energy. Savannah’s altruism has inspired her to pursue further studies in nursing, aspiring to specialize in oncology or dialysis.

This heartwarming tale underscores the unexpected ways in which social media can be a conduit for life-changing connections and acts of kindness. Katie’s newfound health is a testament to Savannah’s generosity, symbolizing a unique bond formed through shared adversity and triumph.

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She needed a kidney donor. She found one in the comments of her TikTok.

About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

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