Co-Workers' Bond of Friendship Grows Through Living Donation

Becoming her close friend and co-worker's living kidney donor has been the "wow experience of my life," says Teresa Ferreri.

Teresa Ferreri knew she wanted to be an organ donor. She just assumed she would become one upon her death. But life often takes mysterious turns.

Teresa met Christine Stile-Mazzeo at work. They immediately felt a special connection and became close friends. It was only natural that Teresa was very concerned when she learned that Christine had a chronic kidney disorder known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic disorder that often leads to kidney failure.

One day in 2007, Christine’s doctor informed her that her condition was deteriorating and that, in time, she would need to start either dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. When Christine told Teresa of this, Teresa asked Christine if she could be considered as her potential living kidney donor. Christine was overwhelmed by her friend’s generous offer. Very soon afterward, they both came to Mount Sinai for organ transplant testing and evaluation. Teresa had the full support of her family in her desire to become a living donor for her friend.

On Good Friday, which as a Catholic, Teresa believed was truly a sign, a transplant coordinator at Mount Sinai informed her that the test results indicated she was a good transplant match for Christine, and that she could move forward with the donation. When Teresa called to share the good news with her friend, Christine’s husband answered and was elated by the news. He asked Teresa to call his wife on her cell phone to let her know. Christine was in the grocery store shopping for Easter Sunday dinner when Teresa reached her.

On December 29, 2009, Teresa donated one of her kidneys to Christine. The special bond they shared has since multiplied in ways they never imagined. Teresa now loves getting text messages and emails from Christine because they are filled with details of her very active life -- a life that would never have been possible without Teresa’s living donation.

“It is so hard to express how fulfilling this experience has been. I am often overcome with emotion when I hear how active Christine is with her family, her husband’s business and keeping her home,” Teresa said. “Being a donor and being able to help someone I love like a sister has definitely been the WOW experience of my life!”