OTTAWA -- An Ottawa woman in need of a kidney has taken the search for a living donor to social media in the hopes of finding a match.

"I feel like I'm just running on fumes," said 31-year-old Alejandra Zetino.

Zetino was born with a gene mutation that was triggered by her pregnancy a few years ago. She was diagnosed with Alport syndrome, a disease that damages the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys. 

"It's taken a huge toll on my body, I've taken so many medications, I've had to change my diet," Zetino said. "I've had to change my entire lifestyle around it and it's taken a massive toll on my mental health too."

Recently, the search for a donor has become more urgent as her kidney function declines.

"They said 'by the way you're at 12 per cent [kidney function] right now, you have about four months left with your own kidneys, we will be looking to put you on the list' and I was like 'okay that's great,' but then they told me also for my blood type the waitlist is three years," Zetino said.

If Zetino does not find a donor within the next four months, the next step would be dialysis. It's a medical treatment that would do for her body what it would no longer be able to do for itself—clean and filter her blood.

"Dialysis is no way to live. I can't imagine that for anybody," Zetino said. "Especially with a little child, it's just so much of my time would be at the hospital."

Searching through social media

In the hopes of finding a living kidney donor, Zetino has turned to social media for help—sharing her story to raise awareness and potentially find an O+ match.

"Being really honest about what's going on behind the scenes in my life is really intense," she said. "But I just think it's so important to bring awareness to this because there's so many other people who are in my exact same position."

Her daughter, Mila, is her inspiration. 

"She's my reason for everything. She's the reason I fight so hard."

Support from family and friends during that fight has been crucial. 

"I've watched her struggle the last couple of years with this and she's been incredibly strong," said friend Vanessa Giamberardino. "I just hope that it creates awareness and encourages people to get tested and hopefully donate so she can just get back to living the life like she had before."

Anyone interested in starting the process to see if they could be a potential match can contact the living donor coordinator at the Ottawa Hospital by calling 613-738-8400 ext. 82778.