NYPD Reaching Out Across City To Find Potential Organ Donors
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD is launching a new program to connect people in need of a kidney with potential donors.
Wednesday, NYPD officer Thomas Alexander met NYPD Sgt. William Gaspari, the man who saved his life.
"I'm very grateful. Thank you for everything," Alexander said.
"Of course, absolutely," Gaspari said.
Two years ago, the department made a video seeking a kidney donor for Alexander, who was undergoing hemodialysis treatments three times a week.
"I didn't know him at all," Gaspari said.
But he wanted to help.
"I honestly thought I'd be one of many signing up. I was one of one," Gaspari told CBS2's Ali Bauman.
He wasn't a match, but through the National Kidney Registry, Gaspari could still donate on Alexander's behalf.
"Because he put his kidney into the pool, somebody else did the same thing and they gave me a kidney," Alexander said.
More than 97,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for a kidney donation, including 7,000 people here in New York.
"So I'm just patiently waiting," NYPD Officer Vadrien Alston said.
Alston is a mother of two, but her relatives are not medically able to give.
"Just going out to try to donate and see if you can give someone that second chance, it means a whole lot to us," Alston said.
Without a donor, the average wait for a kidney is 8-10 years.
That's why next week, police will be reaching out across the city for potential donors.
"Signing people up to be organ donors and sharing information about living kidney donations," Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes said.
For civilian NYPD member Stefan Trotman, it's a gift worth giving.
"To be able to do that for not just one person, but that person's family, that person's community," he said.
He recently lost 200 pounds so he could donate.
"There's a very little price you can put on something like that," he said.
Since his surgery, Officer Alexander is healthy and thriving.
"And here we are. I met a brother. It's awesome," he said.
Brothers in blue and now bonded for life.
To find out how you can donate a kidney for Officer Alston or others on the waiting list, visit kidney4vadrien.org or the National Kidney Donation Organization.
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