NORTHPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — What began as a gift of life has led to something else that may be nearly as great.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, the donor and the recipient have found an unexpected bond. They came face to face Friday in Northport, Long Island.
Friday was not the first time Avram Gabay, 67, of Merrick had exchanged embraces with Jennifer Wolfe of Atlanta, Georgia. But the surprise and the celebration of life never get old.
“She save my life actually,” Gabay said. “She saved my life.”
Four years ago, Gabay was desperately in need of a life-saving kidney transplant. He got together once again Friday with Wolfe, who donated her kidney to him.
But he had thought he was being brought to Northwell Health North Shore University Hospital to Skype with Wolfe from Atlanta – until she unexpectedly walked through the door.
Once strangers, they are now literally a part of each other. Gabay sang an old Cole Porter song popularized by Frank Sinatra to Wolfe.
“I’ve got you under my skin. I’ve got you, deep in the heart of me,” he sang.
Back in 2012, Avram Gabay’s son, Brian, was desperately afraid of losing his father. So he went on MatchingDonors.com and pleaded for a doctor to help save his dad.
Hundreds of miles away in Atlanta, Wolfe – a devout Christian and a woman who believes in random acts of kindness – saw the email from the Gabay family and discovered that her blood type was a match. Selflessly, she heroically decided she would donate her kidney to Gabay – a total stranger.
“I automatically knew that he was the one I wanted to do this for,” Wolfe said.
The transplant was performed in June 2015 and was a success, and through the years, the two have struck up a lovely friendship. It culminated in the emotional surprise meeting Friday, which was arranged by the hospital.
The hospital flew Wolfe in for the holiday visit.
“I get to see them maybe once a year,” Wolfe said. “I wish I could see them more.”
But that is not the end of the story – not even close.
To repay the kindness, Brian Gabay went on a reality show that builds homes for heroes. He won, and asked that a house be built for Wolfe – his hero.
Wolfe moved into her home back in September.
“She is like my daughter,” Avram Gabay said of Wolfe. “I love her like my daughter.”
Regarding her kidney donation, Wolfe lost something. But she also gained something – a new family.