A perfect match: Babylon man to give lifesaving kidney donation to longtime friend
March is National Kidney Month, and one Long Island is giving the gift of life to his dear friend by donating his kidney.
John Primavera was born with hypoplastic kidneys, which is a condition in which the kidneys do not grow.
Primavera needed a kidney transplant after the one he received at age 14 began failing after 30 years.
His best friend of over 40 years, Tom Kenny, who saw him go through that first transplant, wanted to help.
"The waitlist for someone like John is seven years. So to not work and be on dialysis, how do you expect people to get through that for seven years is tough," Kenny said.
According to kidney experts, New York's wait list is the second longest in the country. This could mean that the 49-year-old father and husband would be on dialysis until an appropriate match surfaced.
"Mortality rate on dialysis, unfortunately, is 50% at five years. So mathematically... a lot of people don't survive long enough to get to the transplant point," said Dr. Nicole Ali, M.D., of the NYU Langone Health Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.
Upon hearing this statistic, Kenny volunteered to be a living donor and learned that he and Primavera shared a bond stronger than their decades long friendship - they were a perfect match.
"They said the only way they get that match is if he was a brother of mine," Primavera said.
To help encourage organ donations in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul recently passed a law to help cover costs incurred by the living donor.
"Lost wages, being able to have time off to recover from the surgery, having other means to take care of your children – those are big barriers to living donation, and so what the governor has passed is a really big step," Ali said.
"I think if you can help, you do it. It just felt right," Kenny said.
"I can't express how I feel. I mean, it's a selfless act to do that," Primavera said.
The surgery is scheduled at NYU Langone Health this Monday.