Giving Back

West Orange Resident Donates Kidney to Childhood Friend

f9c04351135f510594f3_d3872ab3700c72a79e94_11800219_10155848439655247_4645082779043139409_n.jpg
From left: Cybil and Yvonne. Credits: Cybil Binan
6e71f30728417800ee0f_34b20231632e49317ab7_11822473_10204565497357523_671725803053199153_n.jpg
Cybil and Yvonne seeing each other for the first time after the procedure.   Credits: Cybil Binan
fc1f7736e19cba05da58_1c52e3fdac2cb6335380_11811459_10155854908510247_2334652618943252626_n.jpg
Cybil and Yvonne's families. Credits: Cybil Binan
f9c04351135f510594f3_d3872ab3700c72a79e94_11800219_10155848439655247_4645082779043139409_n.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Cybil Binan of West Orange and Yvonne Zaccone have shared their lives with each other since they became best friends in fifth grade—so much so, in fact, that they sign their letters "LYLAS" – "love you like a sister." Now, after a long medical journey, these two "sisters" are sharing much more than childhood memories.

When Zaccone was diagnosed with end-stage-renal-disease kidney failure in Nov. of 2013, she began the routine of hemo-dialysis with her family and friends like Binan by her side, according to her GoFundMe page. Zaccone quickly moved from in-patient procedures to manual sessions in the comfort of her own home, and then to at-home overnight dialysis. 

While it was clear that Zaccone was in need of a new kidney, finding a donor who was a match proved to be a difficult process. Several people came close, but ultimately, it was Binan who stepped up as a matching kidney donor.

Sign Up for E-News

"When I found out it was her, when I knew she needed it, I didn't hesitate," said Binan. "She told me she was getting put on the national donor list to look for a kidney, and when I found that out I said, ‘I'll just get tested.’ The first thing I said was I'll see if I'm a match. Nothing occurred to me that it might be painful or anything like that. So, I went and got tested, and I was a match." 

After finding the match, the process of testing began. First, Zaccone had to be tested to make sure her body wouldn't reject Binan's kidney. Then, Binan had to undergo testing to make sure her body would be able to withstand the procedure and live with only one kidney.

After Zaccone's testing was approved, Binan was ready to go; however, she met an unexpected obstacle that threw doubt over the situation. 

"Somebody else had also opted to get tested, and I didn't know," Binan explained. "When I was approved, after I had my testing to make sure she could take mine, I was ready to go, to actually start my testing for me. And the hospital said, 'No, somebody's ahead of you.'"

Binan added, tearfully, "And that was very hard to hear. I was really devastated. I really felt like it was meant to be. I really wanted to be that person for her. Because we were so close, I wanted to do that for her."

In Feb., Binan got her wish when the hospital called again and asked her to come to Florida to finish testing. She said she enthusiastically agreed, and was able to resume her journey to save her childhood friend.

At the hospital, Binan met with a team of doctors who comprehensively prepared her for the procedure.

Binan said, "All my testing took five days. I went to all sorts of testing and I met with a huge team of people. I went to psychologists just to make sure you're not a wacko, also a donor advocate to make sure you're not being coerced to do it, which was something I never even thought about. But there was a whole team of people who were all there for me. So, I had a lot of testing, I had a lot of blood drawn, and they put chemicals in me and watched them react in my body. I had CAT scans. I had a stress test ... you name it, I had it done. I met with a nutritionist—they really covered all the bases."

Binan then met with the surgeon, and promptly asked him not to go into full detail about the procedure.

"Take it out of me and put it in her, that's all I need to know," she said. 

After a successful transplant, both women are currently in recovery.

"I know I am so grateful and blessed to have a friend in Cybil. She has always been my sister and will always be. Her heart is always so generous and is always willing to help where she can," Zaccone wrote in an update on her GoFundMe page. "But this generous step is so huge ... I just don't have the right words to say how grateful I am. She is giving me the gift of life. I will have more days with my husband and children and all of you."

Now that she is back in West Orange, Binan said she has found a solid support system in the community around her, for which she is grateful.

Binan said, "It's been a really good experience. People have been sending my cards and flowers and letters. They set up a meal train for me. So many people have offered to help out with picking up my daughter from camp. It's just amazing—the whole thing.”

She added, “West Orange is just like that. I have such a great support system and I have such great friends. That's helped a lot in my recovery, just knowing that if I need something, someone will come by."

Binan and Zaccone said that the bond between them has been strengthened by the unique experience they have both enjoyed and suffered through together. 

"I would encourage other people to do this if they have the opportunity,” said Binan. “It's totally an amazing experience.”

"There is no greater gift than truly giving a part of yourself to give someone life,” Zaccone wrote. “LYLAS to you Cybil, always.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Department Investigating Pair of Residential Burglaries

April 3, 2018

On March 28, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Goldfarb responded to the Union Police Department on a warrant arrest. Robert Kopik, age 41 of Springfield, was placed under arrest on an outstanding criminal warrant and remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility.

On March 28, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Hunt responded to a Quaker Road residence on a residential burglary. The resident reports ...

Letter to the Editor: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a Huge Blow to the Middle-Class

April 8, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3e8af4c3228af663aef4_29354610_1585682268146667_4091748840029675392_o-2

Fri, April 20, 7:00 PM

Millburn High School, Millburn

Red Carpet Premiere of the 7th Annual Millburn ...

Carousel_image_b86bc770b3d9f1a03e9e_rummage_sale_logo

Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM

Community Church, Short Hills

Community Church to Hold Spring Rummage Sale for ...

Carousel_image_d011da1118997e9079ba_647027fe33acceeb0ba5_1

Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

PetSmart, Millburn

Dog Adoption

Carousel_image_4930b780b62b906e0c8e_e33016f1b524cbf30d1f_mini_magick20180329-98141-1flyvbq

Sat, April 21, 12:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Millburn Library Annual Book Sale

Millburn Road Closures for April 20

April 20, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Parsonage Hill Road closed between Long Hill Drive and White Oak Ridge Road until approx 4:00pm Officers working

Troy Drive closed to all traffic between Lawrence Drive and Troy Lane until approx 4:00pm Officers working

Old Short Hills Road has a changed traffic pattern between Silver Spring Road and Dorison Drive no closures expect possible delays until approx 4:00pm ...

Community Church to Hold Spring Rummage Sale for Charity

Community Congregational Church in Short Hills will hold its semiannual Rummage Sale on Saturday, April 21 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. All proceeds of the sale benefit Community Church’s educational and outreach programs, including the Oasis program that provides bags of groceries and baby supplies to families in Irvington every month.

“The Rummage Sale for Charity at Community Church ...

6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness

6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness
Preview Party: 5/3, 6pm - 8pm
House Tour: 5/5, 1pm - 4pm

Autism affects 1 in 41 children in New Jersey.

The 6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness will take place on May 5, 2016 ...