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Woman Says She Found Life-Saving Kidney Donor Through Friend's Tinder Date

Erika Bragan says the dating app led her to a perfect match for kidney donation.

ByABC News
November 10, 2015, 11:08 AM

— -- We all know the popular dating app Tinder can help you swipe your way to find love, but what about saving a life? For one Florida woman, a simple swipe to the right may do just that.

It all started with Rich O’Dea, a single man from Tampa, Florida, looking for a connection on Tinder. When he matched with Jennifer Thomas, 35, he says there was an instant spark.

“I thought Jennifer was a pretty girl,” O’Dea, 43, told ABC News. “We had many mutual friends and I thought it was a good sign, so I swiped right.”

As first reported in People magazine, they made plans to go on a date, where O’Dea opened up to Thomas about his best friend’s wife, Erika Bragan. The 47-year-old mother of two suffers from a rare kidney disease and was in desperate need of a transplant after being on the list for nearly three years.

“Jenn had such a positive response to talking about Erika and her family, and she seemed genuinely interested in helping out any way she could,” O’Dea explained.

“All that happened was we had a conversation about it,” Thomas said. “He told me about her and I wanted to do something.”

Just a few days after that date, O’Dea told Bragan and her husband Scott about a complete stranger willing to help.

“One day he casually mentioned that there was someone who had come forward and wanted to be tested,” Bragan recalled.

In the end, O’Dea and Thomas didn’t turn out to be a perfect love match, but after months of testing, Thomas and Bragan turned out to be a perfect match for a kidney donation.

“It feels incredible to be able to help,” Thomas said.

Bragan is set to get her new kidney on Nov. 18.

“There are really people out there who do things for other people,” Bragan said.

“It’s been a blessing and a miracle,” her husband added.

One simple swipe is saving a life and has created an unbreakable bond.

“Going on a Tinder date, maybe having a romantic relationship, that’s great, that’s wonderful,” Thomas said. “A lot of people do that, but I’ve gained something a lot better.”