WEST ORANGE, NJ – A week after a 10-year-old boy from West Orange called News 12 New Jersey to ask for help in finding a kidney for his dad, the father’s transplant coordinator told him that calls are coming in from people throughout the nation who want to see if they are a possible match.
“My coordinator told me that calls are flooding in from many places, including calls from people in Missouri and Florida,” said Pete Recchia, a lifelong West Orange resident who has end-stage renal disease and was born with only one kidney that is failing.
Sitting on the couch with his son, Nick Recchia, Pete said he was thankful that his son reached out on his own to call a local news station about his plight. He has been on a transplant list for more than two years, and has been going to dialysis at the RCG Barnabas Dialysis Facility in Livingston during this time. Due to the lack of energy brought about by the disease, he had to quit his job at PSE&G.
Pete explained that he must go to this facility for four hours every other day to do his dialysis.
“I feel beat up and drained,” said Pete, who needs a donor with either blood type A+ or O+ and with antibodies that are negative to his own. “I never feel comfortable in my body. I can feel the blood in my veins, and it doesn’t feel normal.”
Nick, who attends the Gregory Elementary School, said he feels good about the positive feedback has gotten since making the call to News 12.
During that call to the news station, he told the reporter, “I need my father to get a kidney…I figured if I talked about it here on TV then maybe someone would help him.”
Until a kidney donor match is made, Pete said he is determined to do everything the doctors suggest to keep his body as strong as possible. He follows a strict diet that is low in sodium and phosphorous, and cuts out any food with potassium.
“Any food with potassium can give people in my condition a heart attack,” said Pete. “I haven’t had a single orange or banana since I got this disease.”
Despite being as careful as possible in what he eats and in caring for himself, Pete has been rushed to the hospital with fluid in his lungs due to the disease.
Nick said he hopes his father will get the new kidney transplant soon.
“[Nick] is awesome,” Pete said during his interview with News 12. “I love him more than anything in the world…It’s very loving and amazing he did this for his father, for myself.”
According to the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, three people in the state are added to the transplant list every day. There are currently 4,700 New Jersey residents awaiting transplantation. The network is part of the national recovery system.
Pete said that people can go to their own doctor and do a full work-up, to see if they could be a possible match for him. He also said he decided to get onto the Einstein Medical Center transplant list because it is shorter than the ones at New Jersey hospitals at this time.
Those interested in discovering whether they are a match and want to be considered as a donor should contact the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia at 215-456-4525 and ask for the transplant coordinator for Pete Recchia.