Son’s gift of life inspires advocacy for kidney disease

Photo by James Bland

One son returned the gift of life to his mother.

Anthony Brown, recently named one of The Queens Courier’s Rising Stars, donated his kidney in 2013 to his mother Zita Brown after she was diagnosed with kidney disease a year before.

“It was so emotional because she didn’t know she had it,” he said. “It’s a progressive disease. She gets to the hospital for one thing and finds out she has another. They gave her six to seven months to live.”

Brown convinced his mother to let him donate his kidney after telling her that his life would not be complete without her by his side. Zita, originally from Laurelton, is now healthy and living in Florida. 

“I said, ‘Mom, I need you in my life, I can’t imagine having my first kid or wedding without you there,’” he said. “There are life moments that I need her there for. She then buckled down, crying, and said yes.”

The now 25-year-old Long Island City resident then felt he had a moral obligation to be the “voice for a population of people who don’t have a voice.”

Brown, an associate and banker with J.P. Morgan’s Long Island Private Bank, became a volunteer advocate with the American Kidney Fund and now travels around the country speaking about kidney disease, encouraging ways to get more money for research. 

“The decision [to donate] is something you have to make on your own,” he said. “But what I do is talk about my situation. Part of my mission is to make sure that people have a chance to at least consider it.”

He also took part in Kidney Action Day, hosted by the American Kidney Fund in Washington D.C., in which advocates come together and meet with local congressmembers to discuss the issues surrounding kidney diseases. 

Said Brown, “I feel blessed that I can live for something bigger than myself.”

For more info on the American Kidney Fund visit here.



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