Desperate Craigslist Ad for Kidney Donor Saves Florida Woman's Life

Thursday, 15 Dec 2011 09:21 AM

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Craigslist’s reputation for connecting strangers looking to buy or sell items vaulted to the near-miraculous stage when a 28-year-old Florida woman’s last-ditch plea saved her life with a donated kidney. For free.

Doctors couldn’t find a match for Selina Hodge after searching for more than a year. Her health was deteriorating after three years of daily kidney dialysis, so she posted her plea on the online want-ad site in July, according to the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.

The ultimate irony: The woman who matched, 23-year-old Stephanie Grant, out of more than 800 respondents lives only a few miles from Hodge’s Palm Beach Gardens home.

After months of preparation, doctors performed the surgery on Tuesday, and Hodge and Grant are recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

The women, who grew close during trips to Miami for physical and psychological tests to prepare for the procedure, are alert and talking to family and visitors, hospital officials told the Sun Sentinel.

"It's just amazing that somebody would actually lay down their life for a complete stranger," the newspaper quotes Hodge's mother, Gina Evans, as telling WPTV-Ch. 5 in West Palm Beach.

Hodge is not the first person to arrange an organ donation through Craigslist, which health officials say is legal as long as no money exchanges hands.

However, the Sun Sentinel reports, “organ donations from living strangers are rare, less than 1 percent of all transplants at Jackson Memorial and less than 2 percent nationally, from 1988 to mid-2011, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system.”

Grant, who works as a server in a banquet hall, explains her response to the Craigslist plea: "I had a gut instinct when I saw the request for a donor on television. I had to get involved," Grant said in The Palm Beach Post.

Hodge’s mother is eternally grateful Grant’s gut instinct, telling WPTV-TV: "She is a miracle child, and she's a blessed child, and Selina is going to be fine.”

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