By Tatiana Ortiz

In life, some individuals encounter various situations that could be a test to one’s faith. As for Terri Thomas, her faith remained strong throughout an unforgettable venture.

Thomas resides in Brandon and works at FishHawk Barber Shop. She will go into her eighth year there. On April 5, she had a kidney transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. She donated her kidney to her deceased husband’s cousin’s son, Ryan Thomas. He received a new kidney on that same day. Terri felt that she needed to help out a family member, which gave her peace about her decision.

“I never had any anxiety over the surgery,” said Terri.

Ryan was born with a genetic kidney disease called Nail Patella Syndrome. This disease causes orthopedic issues. One of his kidneys had failed due to some complications. He needed a new kidney and searched for a donor. He used dialysis for four years.

Due to opposite blood types, Terri did not qualify as the perfect match. Instead, she applied for the paired exchange program. According to the National Kidney Foundation’s website, the paired exchange program allows the transplant center to arrange for a “swap” of two procedures to occur at the same time.

The procedure took four hours. Both Terri and Ryan are recovering well. Ryan will reach his first milestone in October, meaning that his body will be adjusted to everything such as the antirejection drugs that he currently is on. Ryan and his family are raising funds for his medical expenses. One of the fundraisers, called Ryan’s Beautiful Bean, can be found at
This site sells a variety of jewelry such as bracelets, watches and more. With each purchase, $10 will be donated to ease the cost of the medical expenses for Ryan and his family.

“As a living donor I want everyone to know the outcome of the procedure was positive and individuals should not fear,” said Terri.

The family created another fundraiser on GoFundMe called Kidney Transplant Expenses. Anyone interested in donating can visit

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.