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Kidney Recipient From Viral Video Reunited With Donor At Organ Transplant Ceremony

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- At Allegheny General Hospital on Monday, there was a special reunion between two people who will forever be connected.

It's been just over a year since Diana Zippay found out she needed a kidney to save her life. She suffers from an organ-damaging genetic condition called Alport syndrome.

"I was at a point where a physician had said to me, 'If you haven't made arrangements for your funeral, you might want to think about it,'" Zippay said.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Bailey, took action to help her mother, making a video that went viral. She, along with her 4-year-old brother, Tobias, spread their simple message: "Our mommy needs a kidney."

"To me, that has stuck with me and will stick with me for the rest of my life as one of the finest moments and proudest moments a mother can ever have," Zippay said.

diana zippay melissa deighan
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Prayers were answered when a young woman from Baldwin came forward.

"I could not stand the thought of a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old making plans to have Christmas without their mom," Melissa Deighan said.

Deighan learned her blood type wasn't a match, but offered to participate in what's known as a paired donation.

In July, the transplant happened.

"I think everyone deserves to have a fantastically funny mom every single day," Deighan said. "I knew my life wasn't gonna change much, but I knew that Diana, Jason, Bailey and Tobias's lives would change tremendously."

The two were reunited at Allegheny General's Rose Garden Ceremony, which celebrates organ donors and transplant recipients.

"It's been a tremendous, phenomenal journey," Zippay said.

"If you have just a little bit of yourself you're willing to share while you're here on this earth, please do so," Deighan said.

More than 7,500 people in Pennsylvania are awaiting organ transplants. Many that could benefit from a living organ donation.

"The amazing things that you give to a person when you decide to become an organ donor are very ordinary things," Zippay said. "You give them their life back."


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