Maywood, N.J. Huge Sports Fan Dominic Brunetto in Need of Living Kidney Donor

Dominic Brunetto, an avid sports fan, said he had kidney issues for five to six years due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease that affects the filters in your kidneys.

The condition caused him high blood pressure, but the Maywood, N.J., native’s doctor told him that he was probably not going to need kidney dialysis for 15-20 years.

But the avid NHL Boston Bruin supporter said he could not take a college tour with his fiancée Jeannine and her daughter because he was out of breath just walking. Brunetto said he felt as if he had mononucleosis, an infectious disease that is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Dominic Brunetto and Jeannine.

To make matters more trying, he had no desire to eat or drink, and Brunetto told his doctor, “I literally felt like I was going to die.”

Given the fact that COVID-19 caused such widespread sickness at the time, his doctor believed that Brunetto could have contracted the infamous illness.

The 63-year-old’s doctor tested him, and he came up negative for the disease, fortunately.

Looking for an answer to his woes, however, he went to the emergency room after feeling completely awful, and the doctors eventually diagnosed Brunetto with Stage 4 kidney failure.

He said he had dropped from 270 pounds to 220 pounds in a month and a half. But he did not think much of the weight loss at the time.

Sure, “My suit pants were a little loose,” he said, “but I didn’t make the connection.”

Brunetto started dialysis soon thereafter, but still manages to keep up his work schedule as a senior credit analysis. He has been receiving treatments for approximately 16-17 months, three times a week for three 1/2 hours at a clip while working around 35 hours per week, on a good week, Brunetto noted. But he said that it is anything but easy, requiring some time off from work every now and again.

“It’s very hard, to tell you the truth,” Brunetto said of working and undergoing treatments. “I have to call out sick (one day) every two weeks (just to recover).”

Additionally, he said he has to limit his water intake, something he enjoys drinking, as too much prolongs his treatments, and too little leaves him constipated.

While Brunetto’s blood pressure is now stabilized, he said that he has passed out twice during treatments due to a drop in his blood pressure.

Though Brunetto and his doctors are unsure of exactly when he will require a kidney transplant at the moment, there is no doubt that the sooner, the better. He said that he wants to live a normal, more productive life while being there for Jeannine, a breast cancer survivor, and her three young adult children.

As far as someone bestowing a kidney, you can get tested to see if you are a kidney donor match. Keep in mind that you need to be totally healthy in order to donate.

Moreover, kidney donor experts say the procedure is not that invasive and could save a life of someone in dire need.

Additionally, most donor surgeries are done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions, and the recuperation period is usually two weeks; six-eight weeks to resume most normal activities. Plus, the cost of the evaluation and procedure will be, in most cases, covered by recipient’s insurance.

To help him find a living donor, the Maywood Knights of Columbus chapter will be hosting a kidney awareness day on Saturday, April 30th, on Brunetto and his living kidney donor advocate Donna Tissot’s behalf, whom he connected with through word-of-mouth happenstance.

He has been working with Tissot for the last month. Tissot has helped save the lives of eight people thus far.

“Mark Klayman, the Army Veteran I advocated for, was being treated by a nurse and Mark told her he was getting a transplant,” Tissot recollected. “The nurse was inquisitive and asked ‘how did you get a donor because my friend’s husband needs a kidney? So, word of mouth got Dominic to touch base with me for assistance.”

Brunetto is currently on the transplant list at NYU Langone, in Manhattan. His blood type is B+.

However, blood type doesn’t matter because NYU Langone participates in the paired exchange program. His transplant coordinator at NYU Langone is Grace at 347-387-5220. Please fill out the referral form and indicate donor for Dominic Brunetto.

— Jerry Del Priore

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