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Months after receiving a kidney donation, a York County man finally met his donor

Dwayne Weller found his donor, who he now calls his "angel," through Penn State Health's living donor program.

Almost a year after Dwayne Weller received a kidney from a stranger, he finally hugged his donor in the halls of a Hershey hospital. 

At the emotional meet and greet aptly planned for April 6 — the day nationally recognized as Donate Life Living Donor Day — Weller met Maureen Stathes, of Centre County, in person to thank her for her donation. 

Weller spent five months on dialysis for his kidney failure in 2019 and 2020 until he matched with Stathes through Penn State Health's Living Kidney Transplantation program. He received his new kidney in May of 2021. 

He now refers to Stathes as his "angel" and says she saved his life. 

"I wanted to tell her thank you, but thank you just doesn't seem like it's anywhere close to enough because the quality of life is just so much better than it was when I was on dialysis," said Weller at the meeting at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. 

Stathes said a news article in 2020 about organ donation inspired her to donate herself. She said she wouldn't change a thing about the experience. 

"I definitely would do it over again," said Stathes. "I inspired people who don't know someone in need. I didn't know someone in need. I just signed up for it to be non-direct and donate to a stranger, and there's lots of people who need kidneys. So I think if you feel you're healthy enough and you want to do this that you should do it."

Stathes and Weller say they will be lifelong friends after this experience. 

Donate Life Living Donor Day, which honors living organ donors, falls during National Donate Life Month in April. The month aims to raise awareness on the needs of donation recipients and encourage individuals to consider registering as an organ donor. 

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