The National Kidney Foundation has announced that a Wisconsin man will celebrate his 40th anniversary Thursday with a kidney transplant. Thursday, as it turns out, also is World Kidney Day.
Frank Germinaro, a Kenosha man who outlived the hospital where the transplant took place, said in a foundation news release that he never spent a moment thinking about such things as Medicare or gray hair. That’s because he never expected to reach his senior years. But that’s what he’s doing now due to his surprising longevity.
Diagnosed with kidney disease as an infant, he was forced to go on dialysis at age 19, which prompted the community to mobilize and establish a dialysis unit in his hometown of Kenosha.
Married and a father of four grown children, Mr. Germinaro spent a career as a school principal with a sideline as conductor and musical director of the Kenosha Pops/Concert Band.
To this day, the foundations states, Mr. Germinaro remains overwhelmed by the gratitude of the donor family. He received the kidney of a 13-year-old girl who died of a brain tumor. He never knew her.
"She was a young girl with a future ahead of her, and I was a young guy who needed a future, and I’ve been able to have one because of her," the release quotes him as saying.
He has turned his unexpected longevity into an opportunity to do good works by serving on the foundation’s Patient and Family Council and participating in a special work group that developed practice guidelines for kidney specialists.
Mr. Germinaro said he plans to spend the anniversary by spreading the word about the importance of early detection for kidney disease and the life-saving power of organ donation.
His story gives those of us awaiting transplants or already with transplants special hope that good lifestyle habits and adherence to the required medical regmen to preserve the new organ can bring us a long and full life.