Several weeks ago, Staten Island resident Darren Corona, a gym teacher with the Guild for Exceptional Children, donated his kidney to his friend George Mattera of Brooklyn.
Mattera’s kidneys began to fail about five years ago. Things got more serious just before Christmas time when he found out they were near complete failure. Soon after that, Mattera began to get very sick and had to start dialysis.
Some family and friends began the process to see if they could become a donor. Unfortunately, there weren’t any matches. Mattera’s sister Michelle was one of the people that tried to donate. During the extensive testing process at Weill-Cornell, she not only found out that she could not donate, but that she had early stage breast cancer. Because they caught it in its infancy, she was able to fight it with chemotherapy and strong will and is now doing well.
With little else to go to, Mattera posted a desperate plea through his Facebook page to see if any of his friends would be interested in becoming a donor. Corona, a friend of Mattera’s who had known him through running at his trail racing events in Staten Island, saw his Facebook post and decided to see if he would be a match by having his blood tested at the Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Transplant Hospital in Manhattan.
After further tests and several more visits to the hospital that confirmed his kidney was in fact compatible with Mattera’s body, Corona decided to go ahead with the operation. They began the procedure on July 5 and over the next 48 hours, the procedure was declared a success by their doctors. Over the course of the past several weeks, both men have been mending very well. Corona has started a running regimen again while Mattera has been riding his mountain bike.
When asked if he would do this again, Corona responded, “Yes, without a doubt.”
Corona, 44, currently resides in Livingston, Staten Island with his wife Danielle and their two girls, Lucia and Thira. His hobbies include sculpting and trail running.
Mattera, 43, works for the New York City Department of Transportation as an associate quality control inspector for the past 19 years. He lives in Dyker Heights with his wife Marcy and two girls, Juliana, eight, and Lola, three. He enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and spending time with his family.
According to the National Kidney Foundation’s website, only four kidney donors out of a million donate their kidneys to someone who is not related to them.