May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Donny Hain Needs a Kidney: Family Asks Community to Help Save His Life

Teaneck–Bunny and Jimmy Hain are community fixtures and have been members of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun (CBY) for over 30 years, “since before there were kosher restaurants in Teaneck.” Bunny is well-known in the community for her jewelry business, and Jimmy, who works as a dentist in Manhattan, has davened at the 8:30 a.m. minyan at Bnai Yeshurun for close to 34 years. They are in desperate need of a kidney to save their son Donny’s life and have asked JLNJ to help spread the word. They are looking for living donors with blood-type B+, B- or O, who would make the best match.

Donny, 38, is in great need of a kidney and is currently undergoing six-hour-long dialysis treatments three times a week at Holy Name Hospital. Born with special needs, Donny is a graduate of numerous Yachad summer programs, which Bunny says have literally saved his life.

He has spent many summers at Camp HASC–but because of his dialysis treatments, has not been able to attend camp for the past several summers. He lives in a J-ADD assisted-living apartment and is a beloved member of CBY, who also attends Congregation Beth Shalom on alternating Shabbosim. One of his friends, an older man with special needs, is a greeter there.

“Beth Shalom is special because they give someone that role,” said Fara Hain, one of Donny’s sisters-in-law. She and her husband Benji recently returned from Israel to live in Teaneck. “Maybe special needs people can’t take on roles in davening, but Donny loves to go to there because he helps out by greeting people on Shabbos.”

Donny’s family members and close friends are not donor matches, forcing the family to find someone outside their circle. They must go public because the kidney donation list in the NY/NJ region has a wait time of roughly six to eight years. Approximately 80,000 people in America are waiting for kidneys, and while waiting, 4,500 people die each year. The family explored kidney swaps, in which a group of people each donates a kidney to another person in tandem, hoping to include Donny in the line of those receiving a kidney. So far, that has not worked.

Josh Hain, Donny’s oldest brother, told JLNJ, “We all thought the best place to look would be in Donny’s own community. He has spent almost his whole life in Teaneck.”

Donny is considerably younger than many who have end-stage kidney disease, and he is an excellent candidate for a kidney transplant, which should restore him to full health and allow him to lead a happy and active life. Donny is a gregarious, vibrant and enthusiastic man who everyone loves. He rarely goes out to a restaurant in Teaneck without being greeted by one of his many friends.

The Hain family has partnered with the Brooklyn-based organization called Renewal, which helps match potential donors and recipients. “They help both sides,” said Fara. “They help donors get as much info as they can and walk them through the entire process. Most of the medical costs are covered by the recipient’s insurance, but Renewal pays for any other out-of-pocket costs, such as work days lost. They have supported over 250 donors and recipients, and have done a lot of matching,” she said.

Renewal also introduced the Hain family to other people who have been donors in Teaneck. “They let us know that Donny is not the only person in Teaneck waiting for a kidney. There are other people who live here who also need kidneys,” Benji told JLNJ.

Fara added that the family hopes to draw interest from their campaign to the plight of others. They want to encourage others to get tested for people they might not know. “We are pretty much at the stage where there’s been no stone left unturned,” Benji said. A Facebook campaign the family started approximately a year ago was shared 200 times, and yielded several people willing to get tested. At that time, no one came up as a match, and then Donny needed to have surgery, which necessitated delaying the search.

Getting tested means checking for more than just blood type–other blood factors must match as well. Recipients and donors must be in good health to be cleared for surgery. The donor’s surgery is relatively simple, but the recipient side (Donny’s) is extremely complicated and requires strength for a long recovery time.

Rebbeim in Teaneck have reacted positively to the Hain family’s outreach. Last Shabbos, Rabbi Shalom Baum of Keter Torah, brought in prominent transplant surgeon, Dr. Stuart Greenstein, to speak about kidney transplants at the Seudah Shlishit.

Rabbi Ephraim Simon, of Teaneck Chabad House, donated a kidney in 2009. In a speech to students at Ben Porat Yosef last year, he described his initial response to an appeal to help a child desperately in need of a kidney. After deciding to go through the testing process, it turned out that a match had already been found, but Simon decided to move forward anyway, because “if I was going to do it for a child, I could it for a mother or a father, or anybody,” he said.

“It is literally saving a life,” Simon said. He eventually donated a kidney to a father in Brooklyn. “To be able to save a life is to inspire my children and my congregation. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he said. “My only regret is that I can’t donate my kidney a second time.” He added that if anyone wants to know more about it or has questions, he is willing to speak to them. “They can email me at [email protected] any time,” he said.

Donny’s family asks: If you, or anyone you know would be interested in taking a first step to see if you are a match, or would like general information about what kidney donation entails, please be in touch with Renewal. Call 718 431-9831 and reference Donny’s code, which is R840, or email Renewal at [email protected]. Renewal’s website is www.renewal.org. All inquiries to Renewal are strictly confidential and are without any obligation. They can put you in touch with others who have donated a kidney and are happy to share their experiences. All kidney donation costs will be covered.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles