Everyone who shops at Ma’adan knows Eli Shyker, deli expert and all around nice guy. Shyker and Jonny Shore, owner of Ma’adan, have been working together for a very long time and are also good friends. Shore describes Ma’adan as a family, and so Shyker and his wife, Carol Levy, are part of the “bigger Ma’adan family.”
About 30 years ago Levy was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a hereditary condition that is passed on 50% of the time and for which there is no cure. “For many years I was able to stay healthy and keep my kidney function at an acceptable level,” she said.
However, the condition has progressed to the point where she is in need of a kidney transplant. “I have no other health issues and remain active, walking around [10,000 steps] a day. Last year I went through all the required tests, was deemed healthy enough for transplant and was added to the UNOS [United Network for Organ Sharing] waiting list for a deceased kidney donor. Since the waiting period is four to six years, I have now started the campaign to find a living donor,” Levy added. “I heard about Renewal from my nephrologist, and he suggested I contact them.
“Ma’adan has been very supportive during this quest,” she continued. “Jonny has taken a personal interest and has gone out of his way to care and help. He posted the flier in the store and on Facebook to the Ma’adan customer distribution list with a personal note.”
Discussing her future absent a kidney transplant, Levy described, “Without a donor I’m facing dialysis, which can be quite debilitating and cause significant side effects. My father was on dialysis and while it prolonged his life, the side effects took a great toll on him. I have two recently married children, and I dearly want to be around and healthy to see them enjoy their adult lives and as their families hopefully expand and grow. A kidney transplant will enable me to continue to live my life and enjoy many more healthy years with my family.”
Levy shared that she came across the following quote and believes it with all her heart: “Sometimes God puts people exactly where they need to be. Even when they don’t know it.”
Incredibly, five years ago Levy herself had the opportunity to save a life. Her sister was diagnosed with CLL, a form of Leukemia, and Levy became her bone marrow donor. “We always thought that my sister would be my kidney donor when I needed one, but she needed my help before I needed hers. Unfortunately, she is no longer eligible to donate to me. Being a donor, I know how incredible it is to be able to save a life. I watched my sister at the bris of her first grandson, my heart filled with joy in knowing that she was there because of what I was able to give. It was, and still is, one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.”
Shore has distributed the flier to Ma’adan customers, various synagogue and temple groups, and personal distribution groups. Those who see the posts, or Jewish Link readers who see this article and ad, but cannot personally help, can assist by spreading the word and sharing Levy’s story with their friends and family.
For those interested in helping, finding out more about kidney donation, or applying to be a donor and sharing this incredible joy, please contact Renewal at [email protected] or 718-431-9831 EXT 209.
The Jewish Link joins in the hope and prayer that a donor for Carol Levy will emerge in the very near future.
By Ellie Wolf