Alana and Lori: “Matching Tattoos Are Overrated, Let’s Get Matching Scars”
Lori announced that her kidney was a perfect match for Alana by mocking up their Tinder profile pics.
One lesbian received the best holiday gift ever. Alana Duran, who suffers from Lupus had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for about 10 hours each night. The only way that would change would be if she found a donor willing to give her a kidney.
So imagine Alana Duran’s surprise when her girlfriend Lori Interlicchio announced, via video, that not only did their hearts match but their kidneys as well! Lori and Alana shared the good news in a 2015 video that went viral.
The video shows Alana going through a carefully curated gift box from Lori with all of her favorite goodies. Lori wrote on one of the cards in the gift box, “I’m making you choose between me and that damn dialysis machine. Tattoos are overrated. Let’s get matching scars.” At the very the bottom of the box were pictures from their Tinder profiles announcing that their kidneys were a perfect match. Alana’s emotional expression was priceless:
We talked to Lori and Alana on the eve of Thanksgiving while they spent the holidays with Alana’s family. This is what they told us:
It was the end of summer when both Lori and Alana were looking for someone to hang out with. The two turned to the Tinder dating app. Lori had just moved back to New York and had been hanging out with her sister and her sister’s girlfriend. Alana had also been looking for friends and maybe something more.
Little did they know what that something more would be. Alana, a college student studying psychology, struggled with Lupus pretty much all her life. The autoimmune disease meant extensive hospital stays, near heart failure, a hip replacement and dialysis for the past four years.
An Accidental Meeting
Alana had a corny message on her Tinder profile that immediately made Lori chuckle. Lori messaged Alana and they began texting. They officially met Labor Day weekend while they were on Fire Island in New York. Due to a communication break down, the two had no idea that they would end up in the same bar at the same time. They were so excited to run into each other. The two would take breaks from the dancing, loud music and drinks to chat.
At the end of the day as Lori and her sister were leaving to catch the ferry, Lori asked Alana for a kiss. “It was a pretty good kiss,” Lori recalled.
Alana asked Lori on another date, promising that this time they wouldn’t have to yell at each other over loud music. They ended up going to a cheese restaurant and played video games afterwards.
Alana never hid the fact that she was sick. Lori remembers that Alana casually brought it up on Fire Island.
“I do dialysis at home,” Alana said. “It’s a lot of equipment and I can’t hide it.”
Lori said, “When she brought it up, she didn’t fit the bill of someone who was sick. She goes tot the gym all the time and she’s fit. I super respect the fact that she never let her being on dialysis be an excuse or hold her back from doing anything she wanted to do like travel or hiking.”
Lori, a former Human Rights Campaign coordinator and a regular blood donor who coordinated blood drives, is big on helping anyone in need. So when Lori heard that Alana had been on a wait list for a kidney for four years, she wondered what she could do to help.
Alana had finally gotten a kidney in May but because she was in the hospital with the flu, she couldn’t accept the kidney. That had been a major disappointment.
“I asked my friends if it was crazy that I had been on four dates with this girl and wanted to donate a kidney,” Lori said. “I also asked myself if this was someone else, and not the person I was dating, would I be comfortable doing this? I talked to Alana about getting tested and the rest was history.”
Getting tested for a kidney is a long process and even though they could be a match, other health concerns could prevent the process from going forward. So until she was absolutely certain that there were no hiccups, Lori did not want to get Alana’s hopes up again.
What Happens if They Breakup?
Lori and Alana met over Labor Day weekend and will forever be part of each others’ lives.
“It’s a weird dynamic,” Lori said looking at her girlfriend. “You’re still allowed to break up with me. I still have to do dishes. I feel like any relationship where you’re getting an organ from someone can throw things off.”
Alana said, “We were laying in bed one day when we talked about that if something were to happen between now and February. She said, ‘I still want to give this to you.’”
Alana said, “Even if doesn’t work out and we do break up, she’s still willing to give me a kidney and that’s amazing!”
Lori says, “I feel feel like this is going to bring us closer. I feel like it’s nice to know that she’s literally always going to be part of me. It makes our relationship pretty real.”
Alana’s Family Welcomed Lori With Open Arms
Alana says her family automatically loved Lori. They had watched her go through hard times and saw her almost die so to have a perfect stranger willing to donate a kidney so her quality of life could be better was the best gift ever.
Lori’s family was also a bit skeptical, but once they met Alana, they loved her too and supported Lori giving her Alana the kidney.
The surgery was a success and the two remained together. Their story was the subject of a documentary called, Bean, which can be found on Amazon.
Zamara Perri is the founder and editor of the Black Lesbian Love Lab blog. She loves black love and loves mangoes, cats, reading, cooking and writing about some of the challenges and joys of black lesbian relationships.