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Monongahela children's viral video drums up organ donor for mom

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, 10:54 a.m.
Tobias, left,  and his sister Bailey, right, celebrate their mother Diana Zippay's kidney transplant. Zippay, of Monongahela, needed a transplant because she sufferes from Alport syndrome.
Supplied
Tobias, left, and his sister Bailey, right, celebrate their mother Diana Zippay's kidney transplant. Zippay, of Monongahela, needed a transplant because she sufferes from Alport syndrome.
Tobias, left,  and his sister Bailey, right, celebrate their mother Diana Zippay's kidney transplant.
Supplied
Tobias, left, and his sister Bailey, right, celebrate their mother Diana Zippay's kidney transplant.
Diana Zippay, 36, of Monongahela with her children.
Supplied
Diana Zippay, 36, of Monongahela with her children.

Diana Zippay is alive and well with a new kidney, and her Internet-savvy children are starring in a new thank you video.

The Monongahela woman, whose children made a viral video plea for a donor in March , received a new kidney on July 25 at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The surgery went well and she is recovering at home.

In the new video, produced by Allegheny Health Network's social media team, the kids, Tobias and Bailey, are wearing white lab coats and flipping signs written in Sharpie colors.

At the beginning, they cheer, "Mommy has a new kidney!!"

"Thanks to a living donor, Mommy's doing great," the cards read. "But the work's not done. 96,000 people still need a new kidney. You can give the Gift of Life!"

Zippay reflected on the importance of living donors on Monday.

"The important thing with living donors is that their health or quality of life is never impacted," she told the Tribune-Review. "So, you can give something of yourself and go right back to leading your normal life. Actually, a better life because you get to live with the knowledge that you saved a life."

A homemade video that Zippay shared on her Facebook page in March went viral was featured by "Good Morning America." In that video, the children were seeking a donor for their mother.

Zippay, 36,needed a kidney because she suffers from Alport syndrome, which results in progressive loss of kidney function.

The disease forced her into 20 hours a week of dialysis. Because the disease is genetic, she said she could not receive a kidney from a family member.

Her husband, Jason, is diabetic and could not be a donor.

Zippay found her donor through a national kidney paired exchange program from the United Network for Organ Sharing. The program worked to help three pairs of donors and recipients, including Zippay, get transplants. Her donor is a 40-year-old woman from Philadelphia.

"I think it's important to highlight the need for living donors," she said Monday. "Many people have been waiting years for various types of transplants and there are so many healthy people out there that can change someone's life."

Allegheny General Hospital performs about 100 kidney transplants a year.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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