Photo: Nathaniel Zavin (left) got a kidney transplant after his cousin Megan Lazarte gave one of hers to a stranger, John Gantkowski (2nd right). In a perfect four-way match, Gantkowski's mother, Pamela (right), then donated her kidney to Zavin.
Born with only one bum kidney, the Manhattan teen had already gone through two transplants since age 5 when he learned he would need a third.
It was 2009 and Zavin had just started his freshman year at Trinity College in Dublin when he went into kidney failure.
Forced to return to his parents’ home on the upper West Side, he spent two years tethered to a dialysis machine, growing ever weaker as he waited for a transplant.
Thirty-five relatives and friends volunteered to donate a kidney to him but didn’t match. One who did lost his nerve and backed out.
Drained and frightened, Zavin and his worried parents traveled the country signing on to transplant lists from California to Connecticut.
“Three times I was told there was a transplant about to happen and then right before, it fell through,” said Zavin, now 21. “It was soul-crushing.”
Because of his type O blood and his two previous transplants — from his mom Bernadette when he was 5 and his aunt Helene when he was 16 — doctors said there was just a 10% chance of finding a match.
“It was a very challenging case,” said Dr. Sandip Kapur, head of transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/miracle-matches-2-way-kidney-swap-saved-2-young-lives-article-1.1077193#ixzz1ulkMHctQ
Photo Credit: SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS; SABINA LOUISE PIERCE FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS