Facebook is known for being the place to reconnect with old friends, but a Tampa Bay area resident named Hannah Craig recently found that it can also be the place to find an old friend who's a perfect match to donate a kidney.
Fox 13 is reporting that Craig, 21, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus at 6 weeks old and that she survived for 19 years thanks to a kidney that her mother had donated. But according to the news outlet, that kidney had recently started to fail, and that's when Craig took to Facebook's new organ donation registry system to try and find a compatible donor.
As of early May, 100,000 users of the social networking site had opted to add their organ donation status through the new registry and make it known that they're open to donating.
While numerous people offered to help Craig, it was a 28-year-old family friend from Craig's past named Hillary Glanzer who ended up coming forward and going through with the transplant, even though the two had not kept in touch over the years.
"Thank you Mark Zuckerberg, you know, to Facebook, for having that social network around to inspire transplants and stories," Craig told Fox 13.
Social media sites proved useful for finding organ donors even before Facebook announced its registry. In January of 2011, a girl tweeted about the fact that her mom needed a kidney and one of her followers turned out to be a match. And in December, a woman found a donor after posting a request on Craigslist and received some 800 responses.
Still, other kidney patients have benefited from media attention on altruistic kidney donation chains, where one person donates to a stranger in need and in exchange, a friend or familiy agrees to donate to someone else to keep the donations coming.
After reading an article in Glamour last year, Melissa Arlio decided to donate her kidney to kick start one such chain and her recipient eventually found her on Facebook to thank her. The donation chain is thought to be the largest ever and was credited with saving 30 lives.