The tradition of saving lives continues.
LiveOnNY held its second-annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day on Tuesday, October 6 at Sunset Park’s NYU Lutheran Medical Center.
The nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant in the greater New York metropolitan area held the daylong event exactly a year after its first enrollment day at the hospital to help increase awareness of life-saving organ donors and register donors. According to statistics, only 27 percent of New Yorkers are registered as organ donors.
Organ recipient Ani Sanyal was in attendance to discuss his kidney disease and how an organ donation by his father saved his life.
“I was diagnosed with renal insufficiency at birth,” said Sanyal, who is an artist. “It was a very gradual thing. At first, I was able to manage my condition. I lived a normal life with it up through my adolescent and college years.”
After college, Sanyal ran his own record label and worked in production in the hip hop space. “I was traveling around the world and was living the life I always wanted to lead, but I had this in the back of my head,” he said.
Then he was diagnosed with renal failure. Despite this, Sanyal tried to stay active in his career. “I was told that I had two months until my kidneys gave out completely,” he said. “I needed a transplant and I had to get that in motion but I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t want to hear or accept it.”
Despite feeling his body slow down, he went on tour as a musician. “I was essentially able to power through it in a strange, science-defying way,” he said. Nonetheless, “After the trip. I was sick and went on dialysis overnight.”
At the age of 24, he was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. “It was a very difficult time for me, having gone from being creative and free to being tied to tubes and a machine three days a week,” he said. At that time, he was a patient at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Though his father was a match, there were complications that almost didn’t allow the transplant to take place. “There was complication with him and his blood,” Sanyal explained. “We had two transplant dates. We went through pre ops and both were canceled.”
Sanyal’s father was told that, if they went through with the transplant, “neither of you may survive,” he said. “A board of 10 of the most influential doctors in the country discussed the choice. It turned out to be a 5-5 split and my father essentially signed a contract that stated he knew his life was at risk to donate to me.”
The surgery took place in January, 2013. Following months of intense recovery , Sanyal and his father are living normal and active lives. “I can’t emphasize how powerful that is for me to wake up every day and know that that my parents gave life to me twice,” Sanyal said.
It was a significant moment when Sanyal spoke on behalf of organ donation for LiveOnNY at NYU Lutheran, stressing that the need is “not rare and people die every minute.
“It was phenomenal to be one the people involved with the event,” he said. “People that don’t understand the importance of organ donation until you live through it. I would love to change that.”