Gift of Life - from one Vet to another – QNS.com

Gift of Life - from one Vet to another

As the Memorial Day weekend approached, one Flushing veteran, William Kelly, found out that his friend and fellow former Marine James Donahue, of Bayside, needed a kidney transplant. Kelly, 61, decided that he would donate one of his to Donahue, 55.
After consulting with Ernesto Molmenti, M.D., surgical director of North Shore University Hospital’s Transplant Center they both found that their donor compatibility was a perfect match.
Donahue took it as a sign when the doctor told him that the compatibility could not have been better if the two had been family members. Molmenti and his surgical team successfully performed the kidney transplant.
Both men are Marine veterans who served in Vietnam. Kelly was a sergeant in the jungles and Donahue, also a sergeant, served in the Bay of Tonkin. The two men have been friends for over 20 years. Within the last few years they have spent more time together, becoming closer.
“What most people don’t understand is that the Marine Corps is a true brotherhood,” said Donahue. He went on to describe how going to watch a Memorial Day parade with his own father helped him decide to join the Marine Corps.
The experience of seeing the solders march down the parade route and the look of pride from his father’s face were the two reasons he cited for forming his thoughts about joining the armed forces. “Memorial Day is remembering our heroes and it is important to remember those who have given their life for our freedom,” said Donahue.
The hospital’s transplant center opened last year and has since performed an average of one kidney transplant surgery a month. The program applied for and received both state and federal approvals to establish the transplant program. Queens and Nassau counties combined have an estimated 3.7 million people. Over 1,000 of them are currently on a waiting list for kidneys. This great need demonstrates why a locally-based transplant program was developed.
Molmenti vowed to always do his best in helping those in need of transplant surgeries. When asked about Kelly and Donahue’s Memorial Day story he said, “These men fought against all odds and adversity to achieve odds that were almost insurmountable.”
Both men have since recovered from the surgery and are doing fine. Donahue and Kelly plan to continue spending time together. Donahue said of his friend, “No guts, no glory. He is a man of few but honorable words.” Kelly just responded with a humble thank you.

More from Around New York