How Reddit Got a Transplant Patient His Meds Amidst a Blizzard
Here's a story to affirm your faith in humanity after the blizzard: When Reddit user “chewy01234” found himself stranded in this weekend's snowstorm without an important medication, he took to Boston's subreddit, a local community within the larger internet forum Reddit, titling his post, “can you help a guy with a Kidney Transplant out in this snow storm?.” On Saturday, he wrote:
I left one of my pill bottles back in NY. My mom tried to overnight express it to me but the post office shut down before they could deliver it yesterday. Today they are closed and so is every pharmacy within walking distance to me. (Jamaica Plains)
Does anybody know where I could borrow a few Prograf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacrolimus) unitl monday or tuesday?
Prograf helps suppress a transplant patient's immune system to lower the risk that the body will reject the organ. While the poster noted that missing a dose or two probably wouldn't mean he'd lose a kidney, it wasn't a good idea to find out. He wrote that he was exploring his options, which included paying for cab rides to the nearest open pharmacy that would fill his prescription (for which he'd pay out of pocket) in the midst of a blizzard, or calling (and paying out of pocket for) an ambulance. Luckily, Reddit user “rockstaraimz” was reading. She posted:
I just sent you a message. I have prograf to spare, and a car that doesn't need digging out. I live in Brookline and can probably get it to you pretty easily. Check your messages.
Soon after that, chewy012345 updated his original post to note that he had connected with rockstaraimz, writing:
rockstaraimz came through and dropped them off to me moments ago. She saved my weekend (and possibly my kidney!) Thank you to everyone else who was willing to help as well. Thank you Reddit for existing. Another Reddit success story!!
On Reddit, users can “upvote” a post they like to feature it more prominently for other users, and the community, inspired by the success story, quickly began sending this one viral.
Amy Holdorf, a.k.a. “rockstaraimz” told Boston she was overwhelmed with the response. Holdorf not only received a kidney from her mother in 1994, she has a PhD in immunology. She'd been lurking on Reddit looking for cool photos of the storm when she saw the post. “I had a kidney transplant in 1994, and I happened to have medication because I'm currently being weened off it. I sent a message and he called me, and I went over to his place and he gave me a beer.” She says she has covered parking for her car, and the driving ban had been lifted so the three mile trip wasn't too difficult.
Afterward, she wrote in to say she'd made the delivery, then signed off for the night. “I had stuff to do, and I didn't log back in until 2 or 3 o'clock the next day. [The post] already had over a thousand [upvotes]. When I'd gone to bed it had like 20. People really liked the story and they were appreciative.”
Since then, the post has received another thousand or so upvotes. Redditors have been looking to give Holdorf her karmic due, and she's been offered dinner or drinks by various users in Belgium, San Diego, Texas, Atlantic City, Jakarta, Singapore, and Atlanta, should she ever visit their regions. She tells us she also received messages from other transplant patients, doctors, and just plain admirers, of which there are no shortage. One commenter noted, “You potentially saved a life and got the gift of beer. Life can be beautiful sometimes.”
That comment alone has 1,495 upvotes.