On February 18th, a 25-year-old nurse – Delayne Ivanowski – posted a TikTok video that captured the moment her father – John Ivanowski – found out she was his kidney donor. It’s something he originally told her not to do because he feared he might lose her or that she might be putting herself at risk.
“I told her, I’m not taking your kidney. I told her that flat out,” he told ABC News about a week after the surgery. It wasn’t until after the surgery was already done that he found out, and it was because Delayne kept it secret for over eight months while she went through the process of getting approved as a donor.
She made the decision to go against his wish while he was on dialysis four days per week – meaning he was spending most of his life hooked up to a machine. She didn’t care if he was mad at her or even if he kicked her out of the house – she just wanted to know that her father was going to live a quality life.
During those secretive eight months, she received countless phone calls, had numerous meetings, and underwent a series of tests with doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel – all while making sure her father was unbeknownst to what was going on. And he was, even after he found out they found a donor.
“They called me at work and said, ‘We’ve got an anonymous donor,’ and I about dropped the phone and thought are you kidding me? People can be on the [kidney waiting] list for five, six, seven, eight years and go through dialysis for that long, and I just couldn’t believe it,” he said of the moment they found a donor.
Little did he know that the ‘anonymous donor’ was the one person he didn’t want a kidney from – his daughter. His kidney transplant occurred on February 16, a day that resulted in teamwork as the entire medical staff did everything they could to ensure his ‘anonymous donor’ was kept a secret from him.
“We had to figure out how to put them in separate areas of the pre-op area and how to make it, so they didn’t see each other in the post-op area and make sure that they were in different parts of the floor until she was ready to let him know that she was the donor,” said Dr. Jason Wellen – the father’s doctor.
Delayne Ivanowski Wouldn’t Change a Thing
John and Delayne Ivanowski were operated on in side-by-side rooms and were recovering just steps away from each other on the same floor in the hospital. On February 17, the day after the surgery, John was sitting in a chair as he continued his recovery when his daughter walked in wearing a matching gown.
He knew right away what that meant, and while he was initially upset and in shock at the discovery, he eventually got over those emotions and ‘wouldn’t change a thing.’ He now feels much better since the surgery, and while he’ll be on anti-rejection medicine for the rest of his life, he’ll no longer need dialysis.
As for Delayne, she was in pain after the surgery, but that was expected. Doctors are confident that she won’t face any additional risks. And, like her father, she wouldn’t change a thing – adding that she’s ‘not good at being told no.’ Her selfless act saved his life and saved him from years of waiting for a donor.
“If anything, I’ve saved one life, and hopefully, I can, with awareness and other things, save other lives by encouraging people to become donors or to take that next step and go get the testing done to become a match. It hurts, but all the pain is worth it in the end, I think,” she told ABC News after the surgery.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.