In the News

New York Daily News- Alan I. Benvenisty "A son's gift of himself. She needed kidney-his"

- May 10, 2004

A SON'S GIFT OF HIMSELF She needed kidney - his

OWEN MORITZ DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER With Nicole BodeNew York Daily News. New York, N.Y.: May 10, 2004. pg. 7

Full Text (421 words)

Copyright Daily News, L.P. May 10, 2004

You'd have to buy an awful lot of flowers to beat Rolando Salvador's Mother's Day gift.

The Manhattan computer programmer gave his 60-year-old mom the kidney that saved her life.

"It was the gift of a lifetime," said Marietta Salvador, celebrating her first Mother's Day since the lifesaving surgery. "If not for him, there would be no Mother's Day today. I am so grateful."

The nurse was feeling exhausted and getting terrible headaches when she went in for her annual checkup last spring and was told her kidneys were failing. "I never suspected," she recalled.

She needed a donor fast, and her 25-year-old son quickly volunteered.

"I said to my son, 'You sure you want to do this?' " she remembered. "You get to think about a lot of things. You get to think about family."

Rolando Salvador said he didn't think twice about last June's risky operation. "I just wanted to do it," he said.

He underwent a grueling series of tests to check blood and tissue compatibility and rule out infection before Dr. Alan Benvenisty could operate, transferring his kidney to his mother.

He was released from Mount Sinai St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in three days. His mom was hospitalized a week.

"Every single organ donation truly represents a gift of life," said Benvenisty, chief of surgery at the hospital's renal transplant division. "In many situations it is a parent giving a kidney to their child. In the case of Rolando and Marietta Salvador, it was particularly moving to see a son give the ultimate gift to his mother."

A person can live with just one kidney, provided the organ is in excellent condition, according to medical experts.

Nearly a year later, Marietta Salvador is thriving.

"I feel younger now. Probably it's the younger kidney," she said. "Sometimes I forget that I had the operation."

She finished her 12-hour shift as a night nurse at Beth Israel Medical Center yesterday, grabbed a nap at her Jersey City home and then headed out to lunch at McCormick's restaurant with her husband, son and two daughters.

She ordered crabmeat-stuffed shrimp, in keeping with her new health-conscious diet of mainly fish and white meat.

With this momentous Mother's Day behind her, Marietta said, she is looking forward to what she now considers Thanksgiving - the anniversary of her transplant next month.

"I am so thankful that I am with my family," she said. "It is the gift of a lifetime."

[Illustration]

Caption: MIKE ALBANS DAILY NEWS Marietta Salvador, who got kidney from son Rolando, gets hug yesterday.