Frank Iorio never would have been an organ donor if he hadn’t known the woman on the kidney transplant list personally.
“I think like most people I wasn’t educated on organ donation,” he said. “I had heard of kidney disease, and I knew that people sometimes needed transplants. But it wasn’t something I ever thought I would have to deal with.”
Iorio had reconnected on Facebook with his wife, Lillian, 30 years after they went out for two weeks in junior high school. One month after their 2019 wedding in New York, her lifelong kidney disease took a turn for the worse.
“Finding a person I connected with on this level was a once in a lifetime kind of thing,” Iorio said. “I wasn’t going to let her go for any reason.”
That meant when Lillian became ill, and her only option was getting on an organ donor list, Iorio was first in line to be tested.
“It wasn’t a hard decision at all,” he explained. “I found this person after so many years, and I guess it was kind of selfish on my part. I would do anything to keep her in my life, including giving her my kidney.”
When Iorio realized he was a match, he started researching and asking a lot of questions.
“It put my mind at ease speaking to the doctors and looking at the statistics,” he said.
Iorio also went online and joined a few forums where he could ask other organ donors questions.
“I read story upon story of people’s experiences donating a kidney,” he said. “That gave me comfort and reassurance knowing I wasn’t the first one to go through this. I’m just one of thousands of people who are now fine and perfectly healthy after the surgery.”
Iorio said he never thought about being a kidney donor until after he reconnected with Lillian.
“I wasn’t exposed to any information about organ donation,” he said. “Now that I know more, I recommend that everyone consider being a kidney donor. You’re saving somebody’s life, and you live a completely normal life afterwards. A recovery of six weeks is nothing compared to giving someone life.”