Florence woman seeks to find kidney donor to save her life-long friend

Diane Punska’s and Carolyn Gazzillo’s mothers were in the same birthing room at Cooley Dickinson the day they were born. They became best friends in kindergarten and have remained close since. Gazzillo is in need of a kidney transplant and has been in dialysis for over three years with Diane right by her side through the whole thing. Gazette Staff/Andrew Whitaker 

Carolyn Gazzillo of Florence has a strict and exhausting weekly routine, and as difficult and debilitating as it is to maintain, she pushes through the pain and fatigue because it is literally her only hope of survival.

In 2013, Gazzillo, who worked in the cafeteria at JFK Middle School in Florence, began feeling sickly. The diagnosis: kidney failure. Her doctor promptly put her on a regimen of dialysis treatments, the process which removes waste and extra fluid from the blood.

Since then, Gazzillo, 66, has spent her Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for five hours each day, receiving treatment at Fresenius Kidney Care on Conz Street in Northampton.

“I don’t know how she does it, it takes so much out of her and the longer she is on it the harder it gets,” said Diane Punska of Williamsburg, Gazzillo’s lifelong friend. “She has so much life left in her, but now, I sometimes feel like I am watching her fade away.” Continue reading
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