Kinnelon man donating kidney to ailing sister

North Jersey | Donna Rolando

Vicki O'Brien outside the Suburban Trends office in Butler sharing her story about the gift of a kidney donation and what it will mean for her life.

Nineteen years ago, Vicki O'Brien had her first kidney transplant. Soon this 50-year-old West Caldwell retiree will need another one.

Those in need of a transplant can often spend years on the U.S. waiting list for a donation, but this time around O'Brien is happy to have the hope of bypassing that list altogether with the help of her brother - a Kinnelon resident. Of her three siblings, he turned out to be the perfect match and has agreed to be a donor.

"The transplant clinic said we were identical as if we were twins. There are six factors that they go by and all of our numbers across the board are identical. They were very happy about that," said O'Brien, who is married and retired in 2007 from a government job.

Her brother remained a top candidate for the donation even after further testing and meeting with social workers, as is the typical process. In a phone conversation with Suburban Trends, he said his offer of a kidney stands.

Both he and Vicki have recognized signs (like retaining water) that the first kidney is failing, which means she would need dialysis again.

"I stopped going to the gym because my legs are so swollen it hurts to walk on a treadmill," said O'Brien, who at the same time is a strong advocate of using humor to cope with her medical plight. Continue reading