WEST NEW YORK — You may already know Robert Pisani's story if you've listened to Steve Trevelise's show in the last few weeks. But for those of you who heard the story and responded, you may directly be helping to save a life.

No fewer than seven New Jersey 101.5 listeners have come forward as potential kidney donors for Pisani, a fire captain with North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue who has known Trevelise since kindergarten. Pisani was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure in January 2017, and since last November has had to undergo nine to 10 hours of in-home dialysis every day.

Because Pisani's condition is partly hereditary, much of his family could not help him. His brother made it all the way to a urine analysis before finding out he would not be able to donate.

"It was very difficult for me to go around and ask people for a kidney," Pisani said. "I mean, you try to do it, but it's something that is not easy to do, because you're asking somebody to give you something, you know, part of their body."

But after Trevelise's initial article, as a subsequent one explained, two women — Cynthia and Melissa — emerged as matches. They and Pisani have asked that their last names not be used, and Pisani cautioned that because no procedure has yet taken place, he cannot say for certain if the donation will be termed a success.

Still, as he said, if you have two donors, you have to choose one. Pisani sent Cynthia and Melissa to two hospitals in North Jersey and eventually settled on Cynthia — who had a prior connection to Pisani. In 2005, he rescued her husband and son from a boating accident on Long Beach Island.

According to Pisani, Cynthia told him she owes him one.

"I don't feel, you know, I don't like that word 'owe,'" Pisani said. "When I rescued her husband and son, that was just something that I would've done for anybody, and it just so happened to be them."

Pisani had stayed in touch with Cynthia's family since the rescue, bonding especially with son Darren, a fellow hockey player.

He thanks all the New Jersey 101.5 listeners and readers who stepped up, and encouraged others who aren't willing to donate organs, because they don't know enough about the process, to learn more.

Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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