Social Media Post Leads Colorado Olympian’s Family To Kidney Match

By Shawn Patrick on September 13, 2022
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

A Colorado Olympic swimmer’s father got a life-saving kidney donation after a Hail Mary plea on social media. Dick Franklin, the father of five-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin, was in end-stage kidney failure and desperately in need of a new kidney. He was on the transplant list, but it would likely be years before he’d make it to the top of the list and his family was afraid he wouldn’t make it.

So in a last ditch effort to find him a living donor, the family turned to social media. Dozens of people reached out after the post, but none were a match. The family was losing hope when they received a call from the doctor telling them that they’d found a donor. Imagine the family’s surprise when they learned that the selfless donor was also an Olympic gold medal swimmer. Crissy Perham, who brought home the gold from the ‘92 Barcelona games, saw the plea from the Franklins, got tested, and volunteered to be a living donor.

After the successful surgery, performed by Centura Transplant in Denver, Missy began a partnership with the American Transplant Foundation to raise awareness of the need for more living donors.

At first Perham thought she might remain anonymous, but ultimately decided to let the Franklins know who was donating because they were already part of the same “swim family.” And after the successful surgery, now they all feel like they’re much more than that. “She truly was made to be a part of our family,” says Missy. “And that has been the most amazing part.”

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