WOODLAND PARK, NJ — Thomas Minardi never thought he would find himself in the situation he's currently in. The 59-year-old husband and father of three has end stage renal failure and is on peritoneal dialysis every night in order to live. He's a former resident of Woodland Park and is now in desperate need of a kidney.
Minardi was scheduled to receive a kidney and there was a tentative date for his surgery to have taken place right after Easter this year. However, his donor match decided not to go through with the surgery. He attributed the current Coronavirus pandemic to have played a role in his prospective donor to back out.
"I thought I had a kidney in the works, so I decided to put off dialysis for a long time," he said, adding that he then needed to start dialysis immediately once because his kidney functions numbers dropped drastically.
Minardi requires eight hours of dialysis per night.
"The doctors had to place a catheter in me immediately. The overnight dialysis process makes you feel like you're in prison," he explained. "The automatic machine keeps you up due to the beeping sound it makes when you're trying to sleep and get rest."
Minardi said he and his family were devastated upon learning that they would now need to start from scratch to search for a donor match and are waiting all over again.
Born in Paterson, Minardi grew up in Woodland Park (formerly West Paterson) and attended St. Michael’s School and Paul VI High School. After he marred his wife of 37 years, Maria, also a former resident of Woodland Park, they moved to Haledon. The family now resides in Franklin Lakes. He completed his education at Montclair State University.
His grandparents immigrated from Sicily, Italy, and started a small business in 1927, which his father would eventually take over.
"I worked my entire life for my father’s family business, Minardi Baking Company in Paterson," he said. "Many of our neighbors and friends would find fresh loaves of bread in their mailboxes that were personally delivered by me."
In 2016, the business closed after 84 years. It was then that Minardi started Mama Minardi’s Italian Cookie Distribution, an independent LLC.
"I distribute authentic Italian cookies and biscotti. I also make specialty items around the holidays and deliver specialty baked goods right to my dedicated customers’ homes," he further added.
According to his friend Donna Tissot, Minardi has always been dedicated to his family and to his business.
"Tom works effortlessly and is a selfless man who has been quietly enduring the struggles of kidney failure," she said. "The family was happy that there was a match for Tom, but then the pandemic happen and the situation changed. They are now back at square one."
Minardi said his condition has changed his life and would like to get back to his routine and just get healthy overall.
"We're all down in the dumps right now and my family is very concerned," he noted.
Tissot added that transplant surgeries in some hospitals have started up again.
"This is an urgent request to save Tom’s life and be assured that hospitals, surgeons and personnel have done everything to make this surgery and their facilities safer than ever," she explained. "He has always been a very generous person and has donated cake, breads for many and has always contributed to the community a great deal."
Tom needs a kidney donor blood type A+ can take A or O for direct donation. St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, where Minardi gets treatment, accepts Paired Exchange Kidney Donation.
For more information or to get tested to see if you could be a match, call Sara-Marie Castellvi, RN at 973-322-2143 or click here (indicate on the form donor for Thomas Minardi).
For updates, visit the Facebook page "Thomas Minardi Needs A Kidney."