North Hudson Fire Captain gets kidney from mother of boy he saved
It's a story that movies are made out of. North Hudson Fire Captain Rob Pisani, one of my best friends since childhood, came on the show and talked about how he needed a kidney. Within minutes, a woman named Melissa called in to say that she would do it. There were many more calls, as well as a post that went up on this website with Rob telling his story. That post was circulated on social media by firemen throughout the state. A woman named Cynthia saw the post and got tested. Here's why...
On July 23, 2005, while Rob was out on his boat on Long Beach Island, he saw Cynthia and her family also boating. Her son Darren was jumping off the boat and ended up breaking his neck. Rob describes, "So now her husband John jumps into the water, trying to rescue his son." It was when Cynthia yelled out for help that Rob saw the two heads out in the channel. "I realized what was going on and swam out there with every stroke saying to myself, 'please let me get there,' and by the will of God, I was able to get there." After helping an exhausted John to the raft...
Rob went over to Darren and, "I said to him, 'grab the raft,' and he looked at me with this blank stare and said, 'I can't feel my arms or my legs.' I looked at his neck and it was all black and blue and I realized he had broken his neck. So I held onto him until a boat came with two police officers who jumped in, guns and all." They got him to shore where there was an ambulance waiting and Darren was airlifted to the Philadelphia trauma center. Today Darren still uses a wheelchair, finished college, works in his father's business, and recently got married. Rob and the family have remained a bond.
It was on the same day (July 23) 13 years later that Cynthia got the news that she is a match and will be able to donate a kidney to the man who saved her son's life. "She says to me, 'I need to pay you back.' I said, 'you don't need to pay me back anything. I'm just glad that I was there.'" For as long as I've known him, Rob has never looked for accolades. "We're firemen, that's what we do. When people are in peril, this is what we do."
If all goes well, Rob will have a new kidney by early October. So I asked Rob who would play him in the movie and we both said together, "Danny DeVito." Stay tuned for more on this great story. Remember to check the organ donor box on your drivers license and if you get to chance to save a life by donating while you're still alive, take advantage of it, you'll be glad you did.
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