Doing the right thing.
Update from Michael Lollo! "I have never had a reason to go on Facebook before. Actually, I did not see the point. But after going through my most recent experience I understand Facebook's power and reach. So that being said this is my first official Facebook post (I think it is).
I am proud to say I have joined a club with not many members (I am looking to change that). From what I learned only about 250 people a year join this club. The amazing thing is that almost anyone can join. It’s the club of #NonDirectedKidneyDonors, also sometimes called Altruistic Donors. Almost everyone is born with two Kidneys but we only need one. My journey to Kidney Donation started simple enough. There was a posting on my work intranet site of a fellow Police Officer who needed a Kidney. His name is Tommy Alexander and he is assigned to the NYPD Harbor Unit. After contacting his center I, unfortunately, did not get selected to move further in the process to help him. (Tommy by the way still needs a Kidney). Then came the NY Post article of Marc Weiner. An amazing man who I now have met and have the pleasure of calling him a friend. Marc’s article prompted me to go to his website
Marc’s Kidney Center is Weill Cornell Kidney & Pancreas Transplant Program. I filled out the questionnaire and awaited a response. While I was waiting I probably conducted the most amount of research I could on what Kidney Donation is and how it works. I found out organizations such at the National Kidney Registry have a program called the Paired Exchange. This is an amazing program where a person who needs a kidney had a willing donor but they are not a match. That unmatched donor agrees to donate to someone they are a match for if there friend or family member gets a kidney. In simple terms it’s an amazing pay it forward program.
The only way it can work or start is if someone comes forward as a Non-Directed Donor, meaning they will donate to anyone that they are a match for. This will enable the National Kidney Registry to create a chain of donations. The chain can be as small as mine with two people getting kidneys to as many as over 50 people which is the record for the United States. So when I got the news that I was not a match for Marc I did not hesitate to let the amazing people at Weill Cornell know I wanted to be a Non-Directed Donor. On 12/19/18 I had the pleasure and honor to donate to stranger in need of a kidney, in need of my kidney.
The surgery went great and from what I was told my recipient had normal kidney function as soon as the transplant was complete. That news made me a bit emotional. I came home on 12/21/18. So far all is going as expected. To close out this long winded post I MUST thank people who made this possible. First my wife. There is absolutely no way I could have considered doing this with out her support. I can honestly say that meeting her in the first place has made me a better and more caring person which brought me to this point in my life. Our friends. They all know who they are. My children were well cared for during the hospital stay. Without friends willing to disrupt there lives to help me help another this would not have been possible. My work family. There are also no words to express the support the NYPD gave me and continues to give me from my Deputy Commissioner to every member of my Unit. They have provided friendship, financial assistance and transportation. This would have been impossible to do with out all of them. So now my part-time job will be to join forces with organizations such as
New York Post on Detective Michael Lollo - read full article here
It wasn’t the life he set out to save, but this NYPD hero is still coming to the rescue.
A detective inspired by a Times Square billboard seeking a kidney transplant for a Long Island dad found he wasn’t a match for the man — so he is instead helping the wife of a Marine Corps vet.
“To know that you can help someone, it seems such a small sacrifice on my part to help someone in such a tremendous way,” Detective Michael Lollo told The Post on Wednesday.
Lollo, 46, first applied to give a kidney to an ailing colleague in April but never heard back after answering a questionnaire, he said.
The prospect of making a life-saving donation drifted to the back of Lollo’s mind until late August, when he read in The Post about the plight of Marc Weiner.
A friend of the 53-year-old Great Neck TV news executive, who had lost his bladder and both kidneys in a 2015 bout with aggressive bladder cancer, took out a massive electronic billboard above the Crossroads of the World seeking a kidney donor to spare him from undergoing dialysis three times a week.
Organ donation “didn’t pique my interest [again] until The Post article came out,” Lollo, who hails from a long line of Post readers, said.
“I felt like, ‘Again with this kidney thing?’ Almost like … a sign,” he recalled. “Without The Post … I don’t think I ever would have looked into it again.”
After learning more about what the grueling process of donating an organ would entail, “I discussed it with my wife and she thought it was a good idea. She’s very supportive.”
Lollo, a 19-year NYPD vet — including the last 11 with the department’s elite Intelligence Bureau — embarked on a battery of extensive medical testing to qualify to give a piece of himself to save someone he’d never met.
The gauntlet included an EKG, a full CAT scan, and meetings with a nephrologist, psychologist and social worker, as well as a 24-hour urine test he kept to himself.
“You have to pee in a plastic container for 24 hours” to make sure your kidneys are functioning well, Lollo explained. “I brought the container to work in a plastic bag — no one knew I did that. Had to store it in the refrigerator.”
“They still don’t know I did that,” Lollo recalled with a laugh.
Lollo’s blood screening — which drew some 28 vials from his veins in one particularly draining day of testing — was anything but funny.
“[The technician] kept lining up all the vials, and I kept counting them and I got up to 25 and I said, ‘That looks like a lot,’” he said. “She pulled three more from the cabinet.”
“I don’t even donate blood, so this was the first time I’ve ever had to give so much blood and I fainted,” Lollo said.
But when he came to, 25 vials in, Lollo gamely gave the remaining three samples.
Through it all, the only moment that gave Lollo any pause was a conversation with his supervisor, Lt. Evan Minogue, whose wife works as a social worker for kidney recipients.
“He said, ‘Well, what about your children? Don’t you want to save your kidney if something happens to your children?’” said Lollo, father to a 9-year-old twin brother and sister, as well as a 5-year-old daughter. “Until he said that, I didn’t think about it.”
When Lollo recounted the conversation to his wife, “Instantaneously she looked at me and she said, ‘Well, you know, Michael, I would hope someone would donate to them just like you’re doing to somebody else.’”
That cinched the donation on Lollo’s mind.
“I feel like it’s risk versus reward,” he said. “The reward is really great and the risk to myself is very small.”
Lollo’s extensive testing revealed that he wasn’t a match for Weiner — but could help a 59-year-old mom and wife to a 25-year Marine veteran.
“I called my wife and I was reading her the email and I started getting emotional,” Lollo said. “He’s dedicating himself to the country and obviously she’s supporting him.”
The Marine, in turn, is donating one of his kidneys to another anonymous person in need, Lollo said.
Both organ donors and recipients are kept anonymous through the program, but Lollo said finding out even the bare-bones background of the woman he was helping made them feel linked.
“Even though I don’t have a face or a name, it made her real,” he said. “Getting specific information, even though it’s a little vague, it’s specific enough to just generate emotion.”
Lollo is scheduled for surgery 5:30 a.m. Dec. 4 at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, while the recipient will receive her kidney at Maryland’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Lollo said he tried to reach out to the people behind Weiner’s website, HelpMarcFindAKidney.com, to say thanks, but the email was bounced back to him.
“I just wanted him to know, although I wasn’t a match for him, his story is gonna help two other people,” Lollo said.
Though the identity of his kidney’s recipient is kept anonymous, Lollo can write a letter to her that will be delivered from his coordinator to hers.
“It’s a gift,” he said. “You’re giving a gift to someone and you let it go, hoping it’s going to a good home, a deserving home.”