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Search for kidney began with sign on a street corner, ends with 'perfect' transplant surgery

WCPO thorn family.png
Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 20:52:51-05

Keli Thorn's journey toward a new kidney culminated in successful transplant surgery, her husband announced on Facebook Tuesday.

In 2019, Aaron Thorn began crusading to find his wife a new kidney by standing with a sign on a Butler County street corner looking for a donor. Thorn said Tuesday that both Keli and her donor were doing well several hours into the surgery in a Facebook post early in the afternoon.

"What a day, what a day, what a day? It has been a day," Thorn posted around 1 p.m. "Everything's looking good. Heard from the hospital that the kidney is wonderful, in great condition.... (The operating room staff) said everything was going perfect."

The Thorns' story has taken many twists and, all along the way, relied on the kindness of strangers.

After standing on a street corner with a sign, Thorn took his plea to social media. After a year of searching, they found a matching donor in October. When it became clear they could not afford the procedure on their own, a Miami University professor came forward after seeing their story on WCPO and donated $5,000 to cover the couple's insurance deductible.

Aaron Thorn has also paid forward the kindness he and Keli have received: Not long after finding Keli's donor, Aaron shared another couple's Facebook post about needing a kidney donor. It wasn't long until they had secured a donor, as well.