Woman donates kidney to former mother-in-law

Boston Globe | David Filipov
FITCHBURG — When she learned that the mother of the man she had married needed a kidney, Erica Arsenault immediately volunteered to find out if she were a compatible donor.

It is something anyone might do for family.

Except Dorothy Wolferseder was not family. Not anymore.

Her son, Scott, and Arsenault had been divorced for years. They had maintained civil relations, raised two boys, but no one — not Scott, not Dorothy — would have expected that Arsenault would be the one to step up and make such a sacrifice for her former mother-in-law.

The three of them scrunched together on a couch in the Fitchburg house of Erica’s former sister-in-law recently, living proof of family bonds that survived the pain of divorce — and family bonds restored.

Scott Wolferseder, 49, a police detective in Leominster with a crushing handshake and a ready smile, sat in the middle and recalled how his ex-wife explained to him why she did it.

“Because of the hurt that she caused, not only myself, and our two boys, but the hurt that she caused my mom,” he said. “And this was her way of . . . ” — his voice started to shake — “to make it right.”

Scott and Erica married in 1993, and they divorced eight years ago. The sons, now 18 and 17, live with Scott. They did not share why they had split up, except to say that Erica had been the one who left.

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{Register to be an organ,eye and tissue donor. To learn how, www.donatelife.net or www.organdonor.gov}