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Pledge the Gift of Life

Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Godmother gives lifesaving gift

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010
By Margaret Smykla
Eileen Pistelli, right, donated a kidney to her godson, Anthony Lucking.The focus of attention at an unusual going-away party Saturday did not make an appearance.

That's because the kidney's actual "coming out" was not scheduled until Monday, the day Eileen Pistelli , 47, of Pleasant Hills, donated a kidney to her godson, Anthony Lucking, 25, of Bethel Park.

"After the transplant, I'll be his fairy godmother," Ms. Pistelli said.

Mr. Lucking, the son of Maureen and Jon Lucking of Bethel Park, is recuperating and doing well after the transplant at UPMC Montefiore.

The festive "Kidney Going-Away Party" at Bahama Breeze in Robinson attracted 24 family members who wore Kelly green "Donate Life" bracelets in recognition of the need for donors for lifesaving transplants.

"Across our country, we face a shortage of donors and an urgent need for help. We must respond with the spirit of generosity that has always defined our national character," President Barack Obama said in a proclamation declaring April 2010 as National Donate Life Month.

At age 18, Mr. Lucking was diagnosed with Henoch-Schonlein purpura, or HSP, a form of blood vessel inflammation that results in a rash, stomach pain and, in his case, the locking of his hands, elbows, feet and joints. "It was like an acute arthritis attack," he said.

Over the past seven years, it led to other problems, such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches and kidneys functioning at 13 percent of capacity. When kidneys function at 10 percent, dialysis is required.

As word spread of his need for a kidney, many volunteers, including his parents and brother Nick, came forward. But they were not compatible.

While Mrs. Pistelli and her sister, Mary Kay Paul of Peters, were both deemed suitable donors, Mrs. Pistelli was the better of the match, and she opted to proceed.

The importance of donating first hit home for Mrs. Pistelli in 1991 when her father, now deceased, underwent a liver transplant from a cadaver when the procedure was in the early stages.

"There was a family somewhere who made that decision [to donate], and they at least gave him a chance. I thought if I could ever do it, I would," said Mrs. Pistelli, a registered nurse at Allegheny General Hospital.


To read more, visit the Post-Gazette website.  

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