LODI — Richard Green received good news in April: An organ donor had been found using the National Kidney Registry.
The 67-year-old Lodi man, who had undergone dialysis treatment three times a week for four hours at a time, could have never imagined who it was going to be. It’s actually so unbelievable to his family and the donor’s family that they believe God had a hand in orchestrating the connection.
“This kidney could have come from anywhere in the U.S. and it comes from half a mile from our home in Lodi,” said Shelley Green, Richard Green’s wife.
Richard Green’s kidney donor is 64-year-old Charlene Rostomily, who is not only his neighbor but whose daughter and twin grandchildren are friends with Green’s daughter and his twin grandsons.
Rostomily initially wanted to give a kidney to her 35-year-old daughter Nikki, who was born with cerebral palsy and cirrhosis of the liver, but she was not a match.
Nikki, who had a liver transplant at 6 years old, needed a kidney transplant because of all the medication she has taken throughout her life, Rostomily said. However, because Nikki has undergone many blood transfusions, Rostomily was not a match. It would be difficult to find someone who could donate a kidney to her, she learned.
The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center informed Rostomily of the paired exchange program through the National Kidney Registry, which matches kidney recipients with a pool of living donors. Since Rostomily was willing to donate a kidney to someone in need, Nikki could be added as a recipient — Nikki received a kidney from a donor on the East Coast and had a successful transplant on April 5 at UCSF Medical Center.
Rostomily asked UCSF Medical Center who would receive her kidney, but the only information she received was that it was a man about her age who was having his surgery on April 17 at Stanford University Medical Center.
“Oh that’s wonderful news,” she recalled saying.
She then sent a text message to her other daughter: “I just got a call from UCSF and they said my kidney is going to a man my age at Stanford tomorrow — I just know in my heart it’s a grandpa that has a lot more ballgames to go to watch his grandsons play.”
And it was.
It was Rostomily’s daughter who first put everything together, Shelley Green said.
Rostomily’s daughter contacted the Greens’ daughter to ask where Richard Green was having his transplant done and when. The details synced up.
“We asked (about the donor) and Stanford wouldn’t tell us anything,” Shelley Green said. “They finally said that he was the only person getting a kidney on (April 17). We knew then it was (Charlene’s) kidney.
“For someone to give one of their organs is just one of the greatest gifts. There’s nothing that we could ever do to repay her.”
Richard and Shelley Green had never met Steve and Charlene Rostomily. However, their daughters knew each other and their grandkids were friends and play baseball together.
“The boys feel like we’re related, that we’re family now,” Rostomily previously told UCSF Medical Center. “All four boys are on the same traveling baseball team. We’ll be sitting in the stands together cheering for our boys. Now there’s a picture I can’t wait to be a part of. We will be praising God and the village that brought us together.”
Charlene Rostomily met Richard Green in May at one of the boys’ baseball games.
Shelley Green said Rostomily jumped up from the bleachers to greet and hug Richard Green.
“It’s funny how it all came together,” said Richard Green, whose son’s father-in-law, Mike Watney, donated a kidney on Green’s behalf through the paired exchange program. “I hope that more people who are on dialysis get the same opportunity that I have."
To learn more about the National Kidney Registry and becoming a living donor, visit kidneyregistry.org.
Contact reporter Almendra Carpizo at (209) 5468264 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ AlmendraCarpizo.