LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Nick Sauter is back home after receiving a kidney from a local hero.
TAPinto Passaic Valley has been following Sauter's story since 2017. At that time he was already receiving dialysis treatments three times a week. His condition took a detour when a blood infection traveled to his 21 year old knee replacement requriing additional surgery and delaying his chance for a donation.
Always the coach and motivator of a positive outcome, his sister-in-law Donna Tissot said, “Nick tries to stay positive through his good and bad days.” For those who are dependent on dialysis, life is grim and challenging and time is of the essence to find a healthy living kidney donor in order to go through transplantation.
Tissot served as a cheerleader of sorts, telling Sauter's story to anyone who would listen, and actively reached out to the media with the hope of finding a living donor.
This month, Little Falls resident Robert J Connizzo, a 34-year-old with a resume full of heroic feats, stepped up and donated one of his kidneys to Sauter.
When Connizzo was a Cub Scout, he was involved in a jet ski accident which left his friend injured. In 1995, Cannizzo would receive a lifesaving award. While attending Passaic Valley High School, he served as a volunteer member of the Little Falls Fire Department.
In 2001 Connizzo would be instrumental in saving his father's life in a diving accident in Dutch Springs Quarry.
The 2003 graduate of Passaic Valley High School, graduated EMT school at the Public Safety Academy in Wayne in 2005. There he received an outstanding Achievement Award from the 200 Club for the highest class score. From there he attened Passaic County Community College where he graduated with an associate's degree in applied science in fire science and criminal justice.
Througout the journey, Sauter and his family have been very thanksforul for the outpouring of love and support during the search for a donor. That sense of gratitude is sure to continue and inspire others.
The former vice principal, athletic director, teacher, football and track coach at Passaic Valley High School is an active member of St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Little Falls and played a role in the church's food pantry for many years.
Based on the their background, and dedication to serve others, it is a fairly certain bet that both Nick Sauter and Robert Connizzo will appear in many more headlines about their service to others.