‘Her kidney kid:’ Southington pair connected by kidney transplant

SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (WYTV) – Before March of 2017, Joe Dorsey and Lesley Tietz were just strangers from the same town of Southington. But today, Lesley calls Joe her kid.

“She calls me her kidney kid,” he said.

Joe had been diagnosed with kidney disease at just 20 years old.

“It held kind of steady for the first few years,” he said.

At age 24, doctors told him he would need a transplant or dialysis.

He posted a GoFundMe page on Facebook and the right person stumbled upon it. Lesley had been researching ways to become a donor at the time.

“When I saw the GoFundMe page with the information on it, I realized that was probably the exact reason I had been curiously reading all the information that I was looking up,” she said.

She found the post on her son’s Facebook page. He knew Joe from school.

The surgery took place in September and Joe immediately felt a difference.

Lesley said the decision to be his donor was easy. He was in need and she said she feels blessed to have the opportunity to help him live a full life.

“It just made sense and it kind of didn’t leave room for any doubts or concerns.”

Joe is now 25 — a college graduate with a new kidney and a new outlook since Lesley came into his life.

“You’re just excited,” Joe said. “Like right now, I’m excited and I’m tripping over my words. You just get a euphoric state.”

As for what they hope people take from their own story…

“I think we both talked and agreed that the important thing is that people realize there is a huge need,” Lesley said.