When Alana Duran joined Tinder, she never imagined she’d be swiping right on a new kidney.
In 2015, Duran was looking to meet potential dates on Long Island. What began as some casual flirting over Tinder and texting with Lori Interlicchio turned into the gift of a lifetime when Interlicchio donated a kidney to Duran less than six months later.
The couple’s story is the subject of a new documentary, “Bean,” which debuted on the Fuse network and app Saturday.
The documentary follows Duran and Interlicchio as their story spreads across the internet until their successful surgeries at Stony Brook University Hospital in February 2016.
“It’s a lot of fun to have your story told like that,” said Interlicchio, 24.
Duran, 27, grew up in Southold and Interlicchio, 24, grew up in West Islip. They had their first date on Labor Day weekend 2015, when they met at a Fire Island bar, but their budding relationship was complicated by Duran’s medical needs.
Duran was in desperate need of a kidney transplant, after waiting for one for four years. Duran has lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue.
“I didn’t realize you could just be a kidney match . . . until Alana said you just have to be the same blood type,” Interlicchio said.
With Duran’s blessing, Interlicchio had compatibility tests done. The results came back with the same words they had seen on Tinder weeks before: It’s a match.
A video of Duran’s emotional reaction to the news went viral in November 2015, earning more than 250,000 views on Facebook and YouTube.
Among the viewers was Emilie Bunnell, director of development at Gigantic! Productions, which makes documentaries and episodes for MTV’s True Life, among other projects. The production company offered to tell their story.
“It was kind of mind-blowing that we have this viral video and it’s a good story that people liked,” Duran said.
The filming process was a powerful experience, Interlicchio said. Talking to the camera served as a kind of therapy and brought her closer to her family, who was initially concerned about her donating a kidney so early in the relationship.
“I’m from a big Italian Long Island family, and we don’t always communicate in the best way,” she said. “Sometimes you’re talking past one another, and having a camera, you have to stop and listen to what the other person has to say.”
Both Duran and Interlicchio have fully recovered. The kidney not only took Duran off dialysis, but improved her heart function from dangerously low to normal levels.
The two are still together and recently moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Duran works in a lab and Interlicchio is a law student. They were planning to hold a viewing party for friends there Saturday and celebrate how far they have come in two years, Duran said.
“We trust each other a lot more. Alana knew I would do this for her and I knew she’d be there for me,” Interlicchio said. “We helped each other through a pretty serious life event.”