PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic put a hold on organ transplants, and sadly, three times as many people died this year waiting for one.
A Westchester man is now seeing his health deteriorate as he waits for a kidney, but he’s not losing hope.
Phil Alderman adores his 11-year-old son, Ethan, and his wife, Elisabeth, a breast cancer survivor since 2013.
“I remember saying to him when I was worried, I said, ‘Well, the cancer’s aggressive,’ and he said, ‘So we will be too,'” Elisabeth Alderman told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “And I know that’s a large reason for my survival.”
Now, the family is aggressively seeking a living kidney donor, blood type O, for Phil’s survival. They’re posting on social media and their vehicles.
“I really don’t want to lose him,” Ethan said.
Days before hospitals canceled surgeries, the family held an info session at their local synagogue and learned potential donors were testing on his behalf at Montefiore Medical Center, but because of the coronavirus, the months-long process was halted.
“It was devastating. You know, we put a lot of effort into trying to find something, and over those months, I felt my health declining,” Phil Alderman said.
He now has trouble walking and sleeping, and he gets tired easily.
He says blood levels show he’s a couple points away from needing to go on dialysis, which will worsen his health and make it difficult to work full-time as a school psychologist for at-risk middle school students in Brooklyn.
“They come back years later and they tell me about things that they’re doing and the effect that I had on their lives,” Phil Alderman said. “So I feel like I have so much more to offer, um, and I wanna be around. I wanna be there for my son. I wanna watch him grow up.”
With a second wave of the coronavirus cases looming in New York, doctors say there are now more families in need.
“One of the effects of severe COVID-19 is sepsis and then potentially organ damage, and one of them is kidney failure, so there has been an uptick in terms of the need for certain organs like kidneys,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.
RELATED STORY: Organ Donations Rebound In New York To Pre-COVID Levels
The bright spot is that both living and deceased donations have rebounded to pre-COVID levels, and the Aldermans pray Phil will be one of the record-breaking number of transplants that are happening in 2020.
The Aldermans have set up an email address for interested potential donors at email@example.com.
The Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus also has a transplant center that interested potential donors can contact at 718-920-4718. Once they interview you, you are assigned a transplant coordinator, along with a social worker, to guide you along the process.
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