Local woman gets lifesaving kidney transplant after lawmakers step in

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A local woman got a lifesaving kidney transplant all thanks to some lawmakers stepping in to help. (WPVI)

A local woman got a lifesaving kidney transplant all thanks to some lawmakers stepping in to help.

We first introduced you to Nina Saria in November 2015.

Her family found a kidney donor on Craigslist.

But after that surgery was cancelled, it took another year, and battling with the government for Saria to finally get a lifesaving operation.

"I'm feeling very well, I'm happy and back to normal," Nina Saria of Egg Harbor City said.

34-year-old Saria is beaming. She's healthy and she's grateful for the help of her local mayor, Dudley Lewis, Senator Robert Menendez and his staff.

Without it, she'd still be on dialysis.

Saria was in kidney failure due to an autoimmune illness.

Last year, her hopes were crushed when, just as she was about to get a kidney transplant from a donor her husband found on Craigslist, the surgery was scrapped due to complications.

They later found another answer. Her mother Nana Galua was a perfect match.

But she was half-a-world away in the Republic of Georgia and, unlike Saria, was not a U.S. citizen. She was denied a travel visa three times. That's when Senator Menendez stepped in.

"We contacted officials at Homeland Security in support of Nana's application and made it crystal clear the life of an American citizen was at stake," Menendez said.

Nana was finally granted permission to travel to the U.S. to give her daughter a kidney and a new lease on life.

Saria's 8-year-old son Nicholas also expressed his gratitude.

"I want to thank my grandma for saving my mom. Now we can swim and have snowball fights," Nicholas said.

"It makes me happy to see that these people cared about my health, they cared and they wanted me to be alive," Saria said.

Senator Menendez says when it comes to life or death situations, we need more compassion and less red tape.

Saria is now studying to become a nurse. She says she was inspired by her dialysis team.

Her mother will go back the Republic of Georgia at the end of the month.
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