It all began with a case of pneumonia.
Double pneumonia, to be exact. My husband, Eddie, was stricken by the illness three years ago. It caused his body to break down quickly, destroying his kidneys in the process. Our options: leave the poison to attack his body or start dialysis. Eddie spent nine punishing months on dialysis. Our three sons, dismayed by the havoc the treatment wreaked, decided that something had to be done and proceeded to get tested for kidney compatibility. Mercifully, our middle son was a match.
At 82 years old, Eddie would not have lived long enough to get a kidney through the national transplant registry, but he was adamantly opposed to accepting an organ from his child. He feared for our son’s life. Determined to convince him, we enlisted our rabbi, Rabbi Nachum, who told Eddie that the gift of life is the very biggest gift a child could possibly give his parent. Begrudgingly – and after learning that should our son ever need a kidney, G-d forbid, he’d go straight to the top of the list – Eddie agreed to the transplant. It was truly fortunate that it was that particular son who was a match, as our eldest son’s daughter got engaged and our youngest son had a new baby within weeks of the surgery. In the span of three weeks, we welcomed a new grandson, celebrated a bris and a wedding, and transplanted a kidney!
Everything worked out wonderfully; both donor and recipient experienced very few side effects. Eddie’s underlying blood disorder did not resolve post-transplant and he still requires regular transfusions, but it’s three years later and he’s still going strong. We thank G-d every minute of every day. Though we didn’t need Renewal to help us find a donor, they were
enormously supportive and caring during our tumultuous times. AJ Gindi, David Schischa, and Menachem Friedman, among the others at Renewal, were instrumental in coordinating the transplant and doctor’s visits, providing us with everything we needed. Eli Yedid, the son of our beloved, recently departed friend Sandy a”h – who received a kidney through Renewal months before Eddie – is a close friend of our son’s and was a vital source of support and assistance.
In a bittersweet twist of fate, our beloved daughter is present in our story as well. She was the recipient of a heart transplant in 1990 and was put on an anti-rejection regimen that was not effective in her case. We were privileged to have her enrolled in a trial for a new medication, which allowed her to live another 20 years, get married, and have beautiful children. Today, the medication that saved her life is the very same medication that’s keeping her father alive.
We are so grateful for science, for family and friends, for our community, and for Renewal, encouraging us and helping us throughout our entire journey; we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts