Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Erika Bragan undergoes kidney transplant surgery thanks to friend's Tinder date

Erika Bragan, left, received a life-saving kidney donation from Jennifer Thomas on Wednesday. Both are reportedly doing well.

Courtesy of Scott Bragan

Erika Bragan, left, received a life-saving kidney donation from Jennifer Thomas on Wednesday. Both are reportedly doing well.

TAMPA — About eight hours and two surgeries later, Erika Bragan has a new kidney.

Both Bragan, a 44-year-old mother of two, and her donor, Jennifer Thomas, a 35-year-old mother of one, were doing well after Wednesday's procedure, Erika's husband Scott Bragan told the Tampa Bay Times.

The story of how a blind Tinder date led Thomas to donate her kidney to a complete stranger, Erika Bragan, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), went viral almost two weeks ago. The Bragans and Thomas were bombarded with requests for interviews from media outlets all over the world.

It all started over the summer when two people swiped right on Tinder, the dating app that matches people based on pictures and short profiles. The app connected Thomas with Rich O'Dea, who took her to a concert in July.

O'Dea talked about his friends the Bragans, their quest to find a donor for Erika Bragan's failing kidneys and his passion for running to raise money to combat PKD.

Thomas immediately wanted to get involved. A couple of months and many medical tests later, Thomas found out she would be able to donate a kidney to Erika Bragan.

Before receiving the life-saving transplant Wednesday, Erika Bragan was down to five percent kidney function because of PKD.

Thomas went into the operating room first Wednesday, a little before 8 a.m. Erika Bragan followed her into surgery around 11:30 a.m. By late afternoon, they were done.

"Both are out and doing amazing," Scott Bragan, 47, texted around 3:30 p.m. "(They were) very successful surgeries."

Both Erika Bragan and Thomas will need a few weeks of recovery time. Erika Bragan will also need to take immunosuppressant medication for the rest of her life to prevent organ rejection.

The Bragans plan to stay connected with Thomas and keep raising funds and awareness for PKD through Scott Bragan's Team Tampa PKD running group, which O'Dea runs for.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at and on Twitter @chelseatatham.

Erika Bragan undergoes kidney transplant surgery thanks to friend's Tinder date 11/18/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.