In 2019, 49-year-old, Sean Greene received his Father’s Day gift a little early, a life-saving kidney donation. Making the success of the surgery even sweeter, the organ was donated by his 20-year- old son, Jordan. “I love my dad so very much and I couldn’t stand to see him suffer,” says Jordan.
Jordan’s dad, Sean, had been living with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease that attacks the kidney’s filtering units, causing serious scarring which can lead to permanent damage. In 2003, he received a kidney donation from his sister, but that kidney failed and Sean was told he would have to go on dialysis and eventually need a kidney transplant to survive.
“I remember, as a kid, hearing my parents say that the kidney my dad got from my Aunt wouldn’t last forever and I knew I would be the one to help him next,” says Jordan. Typically, siblings are the best living donor candidates but after getting tested, Jordan and Sean, turned out to be a perfect match, although the decision to accept Jordan’s generous offer wasn’t an easy one, says his dad. “I had always hoped this day might never come. As a father, how could I put my son through this,” says Sean.
But with the help of Michael J. Goldstein, M.D., FACS, interim chief of transplantation, director of kidney & pancreas transplantation, Division of Organ Transplantation, Hackensack University Medical Center, Sean acquiesced. “It’s common for parents to be reluctant to have their children donate an organ to them. We bring our children into the world and our job is to protect them, not take from them,” says Dr. Goldstein. But as he explains, the future benefits to both Jordan and his dad, outweigh the risks.
“The best option for any patient is a living donor because they don’t have to wait on the organ transplant list and the long term outcome is always better. As for the donor, Jordan gets to live with the fact that he saved his father’s life, what better feeling than being a hero,” says Dr. Goldstein.
Additionally, if for some unrelated reason, Jordan were to need a new kidney, years down the road, he would immediately go to the top of the organ transplant list, having already been a donor.
So Jordan underwent surgery in side-by-side operating rooms with his father on June 10th.
As a result, dad will be relieved of the many symptoms of his kidney disease including fatigue, weakness, decreased mental sharpness, sleep problems and nausea. “The act of living donation is an act of love that so few people have the opportunity to do so we not only encourage it, we feel lucky to be a part of it every day,” says Dr. Goldstein. Three years later, both father and son are doing well and looking forward to this Thanksgiving together, thanks to the ultimate display of a son’s love.