Denver-area woman uses social media to find kidney donor

DENVER -- A Denver-area woman is in desperate need of a new kidney, but doctors have told her it might take five years or more. So she has come up with a creative way to try to speed up things.

“There’s no better way these days than the internet,” Danielle Shaffer said.

She started a Facebook Kidney for Danielle a couple of years ago when she was diagnosed with kidney failure, three weeks after giving birth to her second child.

“Because of blood transfusions and having children, I created a bunch of antibodies in me so I physically wasn’t a donor match to anybody in my family anymore,” she said.

Her father ended up becoming an altruistic donor to get Shaffer a new kidney. He wasn’t a match for his daughter, but he donated a kidney on her behalf. She got a match in return.

“My dad’s kidney went to Connecticut and my new kidney came from Connecticut and that’s how I was able to get a kidney fast enough,” she said.

The transplant was a success, but six months into her recovery, Shaffer developed a rare genetic disease called atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. The disease damages vital organs such as the kidneys, heart and brain.

Doctors are treating Shaffer, but it did irreversible damage to her new kidney.

“I’m at the point again where I either need a new kidney or I need to go back on dialysis, which is the last thing I want to do,” Shaffer said.

She is a mother of two children, ages 8 and 2. Dialysis requires three- to five-hour doctor visits per week and the procedure makes her too tired to properly care for her young kids.

“I makes me sad that she’s sick and I loved it how when she was still normal,” her 8-year-old daughter Zoey said. “She’s just laying down now all the time and it makes me sad.”

Since this would be Shaffer's second transplant, she is at the bottom of the waitlist.

“And because I’m a rare match, they’re expecting a five- or six-year wait,” Shaffer said. “I might not have the five or six years to wait.”

So she again is turning to social media for help. A friend reposted Shaffer's story on Nextdoor in hopes of finding a match.

“My health has gone down hill a little big and the doctors are getting a little concerned," the post says. "I have not dropped down to 100 lbs and having trouble putting any weight on.”

It goes on to say, “Please consider being an Altruistic Donor.”

Shaffer says this is her last hope.

“People I don’t know might be that person who calls and says, hey, I can help,” she said.

To find out if you are eligible to donate to Shaffer or as an altruistic donor, call 303-765-6972 and mention Shaffer’s name for her to be eligible to receive a kidney donation.

“I really hope she gets a new kidney and she’s all better. It would mean the world to me,” her daughter Zoey said.