Mom befriends stranger who donated life-saving kidney

A Massachusetts mother has found a lifelong friend in the stranger who felt moved to act after reading an article on her need for a kidney.  Kara Yimoyines and Nicole Baltzer, both 41, live in the same neighborhood, but did not meet until Feb. 8 at Tufts Medical Center, which is the day after Baltzer donated her own organ to save Yimoyines.

“I’m beyond words happy,” Baltzer, also a mother, told ABC News. “I’m happy for her to give her this energy that she needs to be with her kids and participate in their lives more actively. It really felt like the right thing to do every step of the way.”


Yimoyines, who has three children, was diagnosed with lupus when she was 16 years old. As the disease progressed, her kidney health suffered, leaving her with just 11 percent function. She began the"A Kidney for Kara" YouCaring and Facebook page in hopes of finding a match, which is how Baltzer found her in June 2016.

“I [thought], she’s a mom like me, living in the same town,” Baltzer told ABC News. “I have one [child] and I can barely keep up, she has three. I was thinking, ‘God, this is a nasty disease chipping away at her energy,’ but knowing there could be some type of solution lying within myself, there was some hope in there. Come to find out I had the same blood type as her and so, I took action.”

Months later, Baltzer discovered she was a match for Yimoyines, and the transplant was scheduled for February. Yimoyines shared an emotional post about the first time that they met, just a day after the surgery.


“She and her husband Jim Fantini tiptoed into the room, Jim to the foot of the bed and Nicole straight to my side,” Yimoyines wrote on Feb. 12, in part. “I took her hand and teared up immediately.”

Yimoyines’ doctor said the transplant went smoothly.

“Kara is a young woman with lupus, but otherwise is very healthy,” Dr. Jeffrey Cooper, chief of transplant surgery at Tufts Medical Center, told ABC News. “She’s one of these patients whose man issue is kidney disease. Both of them were great surgical candidates and are fully recovered. Both Kara and Nicole have normal kidney function. If you put them together you wouldn’t be able to [tell] who donated and who received a kidney.”