Dana Sepulveda, then terminally ill, got the call from her doctor in June that the liver and kidney she needed were available — if she got to the hospital in Manhattan in 90 minutes.
The Massapequa mother of two — who is married to an NYPD officer — said she was shaking and desperate to get to Mount Sinai Hospital when she walked into the Nassau County Police Department’s Seventh Precinct in Seaford asking for help at about 6 a.m. on June 26.
About a week after the operation, something special happened. I had the opportunity to meet Rhonda, the woman who received my kidney, and her husband Paul. About 30 years prior, Rhonda was diagnosed with a bacterial kidney infection that left irreversible damage. In 2015, her kidney began to rapidly decline, and she was put on hemodialysis for over seven months.
On the day of our meeting, I walked into a conference room where Rhonda was standing with her husband and hospital residents. She immediately hugged me and wouldn’t let go, and I started to cry. The realization of what happened between us suddenly felt so real.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said as she handed me flowers.