Health & Wellness

Volunteer Baseball Coach Desperately Seeking Kidney Donor

7484782f4632c453428f_8d61ed25cba240ce8c05_Dialysis_pic.jpg
2008 Westfield High School graduate Mike Cappiello undergoes dialysis three times a week. Credits: Courtesy of Mike Cappiello
80804ce18f1ac694990d_25791059_3628178386689_1087998694164948090_o.jpg
Cappiello with his girlfriend, Michelle, and her dogs Petey and Bailey.
2dc2508147f57cc91eb0_4a7eb6d437f3b3d0743c_20171111_230044.jpg
Cappiello hanging out with his college friends from Plymouth State University. Credits: Michelle Fortunato
432309696d5e35577160_20171124_154344.jpg
Mike Cappiello holds a striped bass on a fishing trip with his father, Dave. Credits: Ben Cappiello
b72ea120a4125063ceaa_0a19b7d62270a3ed2ba1_20170615_202630.jpg
Mike Cappiello with his family watching The Steve Miller Band perform. Credits: Mike Cappiello
7484782f4632c453428f_8d61ed25cba240ce8c05_Dialysis_pic.jpg

WESTFIELD, NJ —  Westfield High School volunteer baseball coach Mike Cappiello is in desperate need of a kidney donor.

The 28-year-old former WHS baseball player hit 46 doubles playing college ball for Plymouth State University in New Hampshire — the most in the school's history.

One day in April of 2012, during his senior year, he was off to another good start to the early season when he broke the record for doubles with his 46th and final one of his career. He thought he was going to be able to add to this total as a durable never-miss-a-game grinder of a player. He barely made it into second that day, huffing and puffing all the way to the base like he was running a marathon for the first time without training.

Sign Up for E-News

After the game, Cappiello couldn’t enjoy his favorite ritual of eating nachos with his teammates.

“I just didn’t feel right,” said Cappiello, who was the cleanup hitter and one of the team’s most durable players. “The next day I was in the emergency room.”

At the hospital, the physically fit Cappiello, who normally weighed 195, was at a staggering 235. The doctors immediately called for an array of blood tests and he was sent to Dartmouth Hospital, considered the best in the area. His parents met him at the hospital and he was administered further testing.

Eventually, the doctors determined with the help of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital that Cappiello had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, a kidney disease that was rare for someone so young. The disease that leaves the kidney unable to properly filter blood in the body. His collegiate baseball career was over.

Since 2015, Cappiello has undergone five surgeries for the access in his arm to facilitate the Hemodialysis that he undergoes three times a week, for three and a half hours each session. These grueling sessions begin at 5:30 a.m. and leave Cappiello spent, he said.

“Every day I come from dialysis I’m mentally and physically drained,” Cappiello said. “I pretty much eat breakfast and then take a one- to two-hour nap before I can even start my day.”

His days currently entail working on an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University with a focus in IT management. He also works for a CPA office in Union and, with baseball season beginning, he will be back at Westfield High School as a volunteer baseball coach. Through it all, he still enjoys the time he gets to be with his girlfriend and friends.

“I am very fortunate to have met a truly amazing girlfriend,” Cappiello said. “Michelle has been a blessing. She sees me for who I really am and understands everything that I go through.”

Physically, the surgeries have left his arm disfigured and scarred; he calls them “battle scars” from the fight he is waging. The surgeries have kept him from doing things he loves, including playing baseball, weightlifting, water skiing and snow skiing. He feels a buzzing sensation there that often keeps him up at night. Still, he maintains a strikingly positive disposition.

“When people look at me they don’t see my disease,” said Cappiello. “They just see a normal 28-year-old guy. This is what I want people to see. But dealing with this kidney disease has been tough; every day I try not to let it affect me.”

Hemo-dialysis treatment is essential for Cappiello, as it pulls excess water out of his system and filters the blood the way a normally functioning kidney would.

Cappiello is listed at three hospitals in the tri-state area for kidney donation, but the waiting time is between four and 10 years. Cappiello could receive a kidney from a deceased donor, but a living donor is preferred, because the organ would have a longer lifespan and because that person’s medical history would be known.

 Finding a willing person and one who matches his blood type (O+) has been no easy task.

“My parents and other family members were unable to donate for various reasons, although they really wanted to,” Cappiello said. “This is a big ask but there is a big return and it would help bring my life back on track.”

For more information contact kidney4capp@gmail.com

A frequent contributor to TAPinto Westfield, Mike Cohen is the Founder/Director of Throwback Sports (a sports program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Improvements Planned for Two Busy 90 Year Old Morris County Bridges, One in Florham Park

April 19, 2018

Morris County, in coordination with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and New Jersey Department of Transportation, is conducting studies to determine improvements needed for the Columbia Turnpike Bridge in Florham Park and the Valley Road Bridge in Long Hill and Bernards Township, at the Morris and Somerset counties’ border.

Columbia Turnpike ...

New Law Bans Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling in State Waters Off New Jersey’s Coast

April 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law a ban on offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling off the immediate coast of New Jersey.

The law, which drew nearly unanimous support from the New Jersey Legislature, counters the Trump administration’s plan to extend its offshore reach for oil and natural gas activities in ocean waters from Maine to ...

Surf City Hotel's Application Rejected By the Surf City Land Use Board for Outdoor Dining

SURF CITY - There has been a lot of positive change going on at the Surf City Hotel the last two years and especially this off season. New owner Greg Gewirtz, his wife Colleen and other family members have been working hard completing renovations to improve the hotel, bar, liquor store, restaurant and night club.

The owners were hoping those improvements would include approval to set ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Baby Seal Waddles Its Way onto Belmar Beach

BELMAR, NJ — A baby seal waddled its way onto the Fifth Avenue beach earlier today to enjoy one of the warmest days of spring so far.

Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots, which have also been posted on the Belmar Facebook page where it states that the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been notified.

This is the second known instance ...

Save This Travel Date - The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival - April 27 - 29

TAPintoTravels - Asbury Park, New Jersey will host their 4th annual Music and Film Festival on April 27 - 29.

What is better than hanging out in a beach town while listening to good music, watching great films, and all while supporting some great charities? Okay, maybe doing in mid-summer is a little better.  We imagined they tried, but what ...

Travels - Friends of Belmar Harbor: Seeking Junior Sailors and Campers for Summer Programs

BELMAR, NJ — Children can learn how to sail or discover the wonders of the Shark River during two programs to be held weekly this summer by Friends of the Belmar Harbor.

Registration now is open for FOBH’s Junior Sailing and Discovery Camp programs, which will be held from June 18 through August 30 as weekly offerings. Sign up by April 1 and receive a 15 percent discount on ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, April 24, 4:15 PM

Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, Madison

After School @METC: Junior Museum Curators

Education

Carousel_image_b2b3c4a53cefb93611b8_4-25-18_of_headquarters_plaza_flyer_samller__1_

Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Morristown

Lucy's Gift features BJWLD Jewelry Designer from ...

Wed, April 25, 6:30 PM

South Mountain YMCA Civic House (in the Park), Maplewood

Lorraine Labonne-Storch

Business & Finance Health & Wellness Other

The Happy Hive Hallway Club Makes Over Hanover Park Hallways

April 22, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- The Hallways of Hanover Park High School  are alive with the creativity of the Happy Hive Hallways Club.  Ms. Kristina Rovtar, founder and advisor explains how the club came about, “I decided to start the Happy Hive Club in the 2015-2016 school year because I wanted to add some color and further beautify the hallways at HP. Our first ...

Obituaries

Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Take A Chance on the Livingston Library To Conclude

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Friends of the Livingston Library’s annual “Take A Chance on the Library” Auction & Raffle will be ending Tuesday, April 24  when the public is invited to the Library’s Program Room as winners are announced, beginning at noon. The event invites all members of the community to “take a chance on the library” by ...