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Man Gets Lifesaving Kidney Transplant After Newsmax Story

Man Gets Lifesaving Kidney Transplant After Newsmax Story

Rabbi Boruch Wolf

By    |   Wednesday, 24 August 2016 12:35 PM

A Long Island man suffering end-stage renal failure has a new kidney and a new lease on life after a Newsmax story inspired a New York rabbi to give one of his kidneys to the complete stranger.

Each day, 21 people on kidney transplant waiting lists in the United States die because the organ they needed to survive never became available.

Rabbi Boruch Wolf was determined that Jack Hananya's name would not be added to that list.

Rabbi Wolf, director of the Chabad at the Medical Centers on Long Island, has helped seven people in desperate need of a kidney transplant to find them. That means he's helped save seven lives.

Finding organs for transplant patients may not seem like a normal preoccupation for a rabbi.

But for Wolf, it's personal: He was unable to donate one of his kidneys to Hananya because he'd already given one to a transplant recipient in 2009.

"As a rabbi, that's something we strive to do," he explains, "to be a benefit to the greater public."

But Rabbi Wolf was determined to help Hananya, a Long Island resident and father of three boys, find a kidney.

Rabbi Wolf launched a campaign to find a willing donor.

He sent a message containing a link to a Newsmax story about an earlier life-saving kidney-donor campaign to a colleague, Rabbi Zalman Sandhaus, co-director of the Pardes Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Fishkill, New York.

Rabbi Wolf asked Rabbi Sandhaus to send the link to his contacts and post it on social media, in the hope it would encourage a donor to step forward and offer their kidney to Hananya, who had been battling kidney disease for the better part of two decades.

"I Facebook-messaged [Sandhaus] a link," says Wolf. "He took a look at it and a few seconds later responded, ‘Sure, I'll share that.'"

Then a few seconds later, Wolf received a second message from Rabbi Sandhaus.

"He responded to me: ‘I'm type O, would that work?'"

It turns out that Rabbi Sandhaus had long admired the altruism of people who donate a kidney to a complete stranger, and wanted to give one himself.

"How can I not give it if a guy's life is on the line?" he told Chabad.org.

But just when it looked like Hananya, 56, had found his deliverance, the transplant had to be postponed due to complications.

That left Rabbi Wolf with a dilemma. Altruistic kidney donors often feel compelled to give their kidney away. Not many potential donors would want the procedure looming over them for untold months on end. But Rabbi Sandhaus agreed to wait.

"That was a kindness within itself," Rabbi Wolf explained, "because a lot of the people who are moved to donate kidneys are eager to do it. You don't want to be pitched something only to wait for a year."

It was clear Hananya's condition was gradually worsening. The only thing keeping him alive were four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week.

Finally, after a year, Hananya was cleared to receive his new kidney. And last week, on the day of the procedure, he waited nervously with his son and wife in the lobby of Weill Cornell Medical Center to meet the man who was giving up a vital organ to save a stranger's life.

Rabbi Wolf captured a video of the first meeting of the men, as Rabbi Sandhaus arrived to be prepped for the organ removal and transplantation, a procedure that takes about three hours.

Story continues below video.

Hananya, who hails from Israel but is a longtime U.S. resident, says of Rabbi Sandhaus: "I think he is an angel."

Wolf captured their meeting on video. Hananya was so overwhelmed by the encounter that initially he appeared overwhelmed, and unable to speak.

The transplant procedure was a success, and today both men are back on their feet and well on their way to a complete recovery.

"It is the ultimate gift that someone can give without expecting to get something back," says Hananya. "There are no words to express how I feel."

According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are 121,678 people on the waiting list for a lifesaving kidney transplant. Rabbi Wolf knows he can only help a limited number of people.

But he remains open to sharing information with anyone who wants to learn more about altruistic kidney donation by checking out his website.

Doctors report that kidney donors rarely suffer complications. Studies show they statistically go on to live a full lifespan.

Of his own selfless act, Sandhaus told Chabad.org: "I hope it serves as inspiration for other people to donate their kidney."

Wolf tells Newsmax: "It was based on his interest in the Newsmax story."

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A Long Island man suffering end-stage renal failure has a new kidney and a new lease on life after a Newsmax story inspired a New York rabbi to give one of his kidneys to the complete stranger.
rabbi, wolf, kidney, transplant, newsmax
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 12:35 PM
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