A woman has shared the emotional moment her father discovered she was the one who anonymously donated her kidney to help him fight kidney disease.
John Ivanowski, a 60-year-old man from Missouri in the US, was diagnosed with an immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency, which saw his immune system attack his kidneys, more than a year ago.
John was placed on dialysis for his condition, and ended up on the transplant list to replace his kidney.
When the Ivanowski family began discussing the transplant options, his 25-year-old daughter Delayne was determined to help give her father a better quality of life by donating her kidney.
John had lost his son and Delayne’s only sibling to cancer 16 years ago, and was resistant to his daughter becoming his kidney donor.
“I thought, I lost my boy and if anything happened to Delayne, I don’t know what I would do,” he told ABC News, adding, “It was a big concern.”
Despite her father’s protests, Delayne, who works as a nurse, knew John would remain on the transplant list if she did not volunteer her kidney.
Delayne said, “I don’t think that’s any way that anybody should have to live.”
She added, “I was like, ‘I’m going to do it. I don’t care how mad he is at me. I don’t care if he kicks me out of the house or hates me or doesn’t say a word to me for the rest of my life.'”
“At least he’ll be living a good life and not hooked up to a machine.”
Delayne then secretly went through the months-long approval process to become her dad’s kidney donor, which meant getting endless medical tests, and fielding dozens of calls with social workers and medical staff, all while living under her parents’ roof.
John then underwent his surgery at Washington University And Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center in St Louis, with hospital staff working hard to keep Delayne’s secret.
Jason Wellen, who is the centre’s kidney and pancreas transplant surgical director and John’s doctor, said the staff had to do a lot of “behind-the-scenes” work to make sure the father and daughter were kept in separate pre-op areas, and had to ensure they didn’t spot each other in post-op as well to maintain secrecy until Delayne was ready to break the news to John.
And when she did, the emotional moment was captured on video.
Filming the emotional moment she walked into her dad’s hospital room hooked up to an IV drip after the surgery, John immediately knew what had happened without Delayne saying a word.
“Oh my God. Are you kidding me?” he says in the video, which was posted to TikTok and has been viewed more than four million times.
An emotional John then tells his daughter, “I knew you were up to something,” to which she cheekily responds, “I’m always up to something.”
Despite initially being “upset”, John said he was grateful for his daughter’s selfless act and it was a “big relief” not to be “hooked up to the machine anymore”.
“I can’t stop crying,” he added.
Image credits: Facebook
This article first appeared on Over60.