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Local volunteer firefighter in need of a kidney finds donor match

Posted at 10:52 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 22:54:17-04

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla., - A public servant with a big heart is now going to receive a kidney.

Melissa Franco is a volunteer firefighter for Montura Flaghole Fire Department in Hendry County.

She’s also battling Chronic Kidney Disease. Doctors told her she will need another kidney soon because her's are at risk of completely shutting down.

In February, 4 In Your Corner told Franco’s story and encouraged people to share her request for a donor.

Since February, her illness has progressed and Franco now has End Stage Renal Disease, the last stage of Chronic Kidney Disease.

But there’s good news. Franco says she’s finally found a match.

“I had complete strangers that I’ve never met in my life reach out to me on social media and say we’d like to get tested for you,” Franco said. One of those strangers was Tasha Prince from Flatlick, Kentucky who saw her story on Facebook.

“She said lets get tested. Let’s see if I’m a match for you and turns out she is. When she told me that i literally about dropped my phone and had a panic attack. I didn’t believe it. I had to reread the message 3 times.”

 “My heart went out to her,” said Tasha Prince, who’s agreed to donate her kidney to Franco. “She’s a firefighter. We’re a family. No matter what department. No matter what city or state. It doesn’t matter, we’re all family.”

 “Tasha’s a blessing in disguise. I’m just blessed by everything,” Franco said.

Prince is scheduled to complete additional testing at Tampa General Hospital in a few months and they hope the kidney transplant can take place this summer.