It's hard to believe but it was on this day four years ago that I received a kidney from my childhood friend, John Pitroff. John and I both grew up in the northern Berkshires. I became friends with John's sister, April, in elementary school. We attended Johnson School in North Adams.  April and I are only four days apart in age so we were pretty much in all of the same classes together, we even walked to school in a group together for while, when we were in middle school. While friends with April, I got to know her younger brother John.

John and I became friendly together especially since we had a wrestling connection. Yes, it's true, we were/are both rabid fans of professional wrestling or sports entertainment depending on who you talk to. We had that instant connection no doubt. In addition, I would hang out with John and April at their dad's house playing basketball in the backyard with the neighborhood kids. We also went swimming together, hitting natural bodies of water. At one point we did some bridge jumping which I know John wants to do again but I've been a little sheepish these days...lol. Those were some fun times that will always be cherished. It was through John and April that I met my wife Amber as we both attended the Pitroff's New Year's eve party. Many connections and big moments in my life happened because of John and April.

As years rolled by and my polycystic kidney disease progressed, it was very clear that it was only a matter of time until I would have to be put on dialysis if I couldn't find a donor. I advertised my need for a kidney with signage on my vehicle, posts on Facebook, even a PSA on the radio. In the late summer of 2017, I was notified that I had a potential donor who ended up being an exact blood match for me. It was John. I had lost touch with John and hadn't seen him for maybe seven or eight years at that point. John learned that I needed a kidney through April who saw the message on Facebook and told John about my situation.

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John and I had our surgeries performed on October 25, 2017, at Baystate Medical Center. We recovered together side-by-side and were released only three days after the surgeries. I'll probably never meet anyone else quite like John in this lifetime. One thing that really astounded me about John's donation is the fact that he was planning on donating his kidney to me a year prior but because he broke his back doing tree work, had had to wait until after that surgery was completed. John is just that kind of person. He truly cares about others and puts them first. A true hero.

Since the transplant, my wife and I had our first child, Hannah. Hannah was born on March 19, 2020. Hannah is a dream. I still find it hard to believe that I'm her father. Hannah is a regular comedian, she's pure beauty. On September 21, 2021, John had his first baby, River. I have spoken with John and he is on cloud nine.

As far as the kidney is concerned, it's doing very well. I feel great and still appreciate all that I have been given. Thank you John.

If you want to give somebody a second chance at life and are interested in donating, check out matchingdonors.com 

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