Woman with rare kidney disease finds donor on TikTok

Kidney disease is no laughing matter, but in this case comedy connected one TikTok user to a donor

Social media can be an intrusive, scary place; but for one woman, taking to TikTok saved her life — literally.

Katie Hallum, a student at the University of Oklahoma, was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, IgA Nephropathy, a disorder that causes antibodies build up in the kidney tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease can cause “kidney inflammation that can interfere with the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from the blood over time.”

Like many, she took to social media for help, posting a “funny” video about finding a kidney with an O blood type. To her surprise, the video reached the perfect viewer.

In the 2022 video, Hallum filmed herself with a typical TikTok “POV” caption: “POV: I overhear you say you have an O blood type and healthy kidneys,” before mouthing the words from a “Mandalorian” clip, “You have something I want.”

The video accumulated more than 172,000 views; including one from Savannah Stallbaumer who responded, “How do I get tested?”

“Imagine I actually can, like, help this girl, and I didn’t do anything about it?” Stallbaumer recalled thinking.

A few months after being tested, Stallbaumer was told she was a perfect match. she then got share the news with Hallum in person, holding a sign that read “BREAKING NEWS: You’re getting a new kidney.”

“To know that Savannah, who only knew me from the internet, was so willing to give up a part of herself, it was incredibly humbling,” said Hallum. “It definitely does not feel like something life-changing has happened, even though it has. And I think there’s a certain beauty to that.”