BOSTON (CBS) – A local man gave his father-in-law a new lease on life in the most unconventional way. Tony Darosa was busy running his printing business on Martha’s Vineyard when his wife of 50 years suggested he see a doctor.
“My wife said, ‘There’s something not right,’” Darosa said.
The active 70-year-old said he felt fine but did what he was told and within days he was loaded onto an ambulance and shipped to Tufts Medical Center. He was in complete kidney failure.
“The bladder backed up into my kidneys and basically I guess killed them,” he explained.
Tony was placed on dialysis and thought that was how he’d spend the rest of his days, until Dr. Charles Strom, a transplant surgeon at Tufts, said he’d be a good candidate for a kidney transplant.
“He’s such a healthy and robust gentleman that I pushed very hard to have him evaluated,” Dr. Strom said.
Mr. Darosa would likely have had to wait 5 to 8 years for a deceased donor kidney so the chance that he would die waiting for one was pretty good. His best option was a living donor, but who?
“It’s tough, in the beginning, to even think about asking someone to give a kidney,” Darosa said. But seven people, including family and friends, stepped forward and the best match was not a blood relation but his son-in-law, Michael.
“I was kind of shocked in the very beginning but I never hesitated,” Michael said.
So back in December, Michael gave Tony a life-saving kidney.
“It was Christmas time, I had to give him something. He’s tough to buy for,” he added.
Michael jokes that years ago he agreed to take care of Tony’s daughter.
“I didn’t know I was going to have to take care of him, too. He’s the father of my wife and the grandfather of my children and if something happened to him it would really affect everyone involved. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at the time and I still don’t think it was that big of a deal,” Michael said.
Tony knows it was a big deal and can’t be more grateful to Michael.
“He wants to make sure I take care of his kidney,” Tony said.
“I keep my eye on that kidney, I get a certain feeling when I get around him,” Michael said.
“It’s always nice to see non-family members donating because whereas family members often feel obligated to do it, people who are not related who do it often do it out of the goodness of their heart so it was a special thing to see Michael do it,” says Dr. Strom.
Tony is expected to live a full healthy life now, thanks to Michael.