Football ref, baseball umpire from Naples awaits kidney transplant

Collier County sports official Carmine DeCianni brings Cypress Lakes, right, and North Naples Youth Sharks players together before their match-up at Gulf Coast High School on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in North Naples. DeCianni is waiting for a new kidney. "I work full time. I officiate full time. Other than that, I'm on dialysis at home," DeCianni said.(Photo: Luke Franke/Naples Daily News)
Carmine DeCianni has an outsized heart and bad kidneys.

The longtime referee for youth sports in Southwest Florida has a game plan in the works: a kidney transplant.

The 56-year-old has endured kidney failure for three years, a life-altering disease that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. He was diagnosed with diabetes 15 years ago. It’s an unforgiving family trait, he says, that’s passed along with the proud Italian heritage.

A cousin back home in Queens, New York, says he will donate a kidney, even if it means the organ goes to a stranger. That way DeCianni can get matched with another living donor. In essence, it’s an organ trade so patients can get matched as soon as possible.

The legion of kids and parents, coaches and spectators at games would never know DeCianni suffers from kidney failure. The disease can bring a psychological battle of despair and fear. DeCianni fights back with a relentless schedule on the field with an upbeat, not-a-care-in-the-world attitude. Continue reading


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