Jewish-based group connects kidney donors to strangers

David Sarna of Teaneck received a kidney transplant with help from Renewal, a non-profit that facilitates kidney donations — particularly within Jewish communities.
NORTH JERSEY | Mary Diduch

About two years ago, David Sarna suddenly found himself flattened with fatigue and unable to focus. He would spend hours lying wearily in bed, unable to get up, his mind foggy.

Eventually, his doctors delivered a diagnosis that was as unexpected as it was worrisome: His kidneys were failing.

Sarna, 67, of Teaneck, is not a smoker or drinker, and as far as he knew, no one in his family had kidney disease. And yet his options were grim: Sarna would likely have to endure a years-long wait for a new kidney, possibly while suffering through thrice-weekly dialysis treatments.

Instead, word-of-mouth led Sarna to Renewal, a Brooklyn-based non-profit that facilitates live kidney donations — particularly within Jewish communities, the faith of the group’s founders. Renewal paired Sarna with an anonymous donor from his own Modern Orthodox community in Teaneck who agreed to give up one of her kidneys to save his life. That considerably shortened Sarna’s time on the national kidney waiting list; once he registered with Renewal, his wait time for a new kidney was only six months. Continue reading
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