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Maplewood Man Saves Life of Colleague's Husband As Kidney Donor

After finding out how long his colleague's husband was waiting on dialysis for a transplant, Ken Wenger decided he needed to help.

Ken Wenger, left, seen here with Jaime David de Leon, who received a kidney from Wenger after his wife, Theresa related her husband's story about his prolonged wait for a donor. Contributed photo.
Ken Wenger, left, seen here with Jaime David de Leon, who received a kidney from Wenger after his wife, Theresa related her husband's story about his prolonged wait for a donor. Contributed photo.
Jaime David de León of Jersey City waited while on dialysis for four years for a kidney to no avail. His universal-donor blood type, O positive, put organs in high demand.

His situation was so prolonged and grim that doctor's decided to try an experimental procedure on him with a non-compatible kidney, a course that got shut down as soon as it started when his wife Theresa's blood pressure was too high for her to be his donor.

Theresa, vice president of Wealth Management at PNG Bank, imparted this story on Senior Vice President Ken Wenger on their way to a business function one day when he asked why she missed work.

That's when things began to turn around.

“I was shocked that he was on dialysis for so long. I talked to my wife and said, ‘I want to take care of this.’ When I feel I can do something I must,” Wenger said.

Wenger had a brother born with only one kidney and spent a lifetime anticipating giving his kidney to him. His brother, who is living a healthy life, gave him his blessing, and Wenger proceeded with the surgery.

Wenger said his actions came from his long admiration for Theresa and a solid friendship outside of work.

“I thought, would I give a kidney to Theresa? Yes, and by extension I did,” he said.

While he wasn't too familiar with Jamie prior to the surgery, the two have formed a friendship, and Jaime introduces Wenger to others as his brother.

Jaime will now lead one of 300 teams at the NJ Sharing Network’s Annual 5K June 8 to express his gratitude.

"It's my way of saying thanks," Jaime said.
Virginia Hammer May 22, 2014 at 06:44 PM
Wow! BRAVO, Mr. Wenger! - Quite amazing. - LET US ALL TRY TO: 1. EMULATE such generosity and also: 2. EAT MORE HEALTHILY AND EXERCISE so as not to strain your poor kidneys -- (HEALTHIER LIFE STYLE NOW: My sisters & brothers!) -- any more than necessary; DOES THIS MEAN: YOU? Jes' sayin' ... -- ( Yes, of course, sometimes it is genetic. What can ya do. No blame; no fault; that never works ... Just good that this was done.) Bravo again, Mr. Wenger. Fantastic, o.t.t. positive attitude and generosity. PS: Oy; Who "da hecque" wrote this article / edited it?? - It's PNC Bank, obviously (just confirmed that), you apparently rather sloppy “goofbawlle!” (Real well-written snippet here otherwise, naturally, imho.) -- i.e.,: What "PNG Bank?" -- Jeez Louise. -- Aahh, well. (Hee; guess PNC won’t be giving YOU too many kidneys in the future! Hee. Jes’ kidding.) - Heh. - I know; we're all too busy ... xo VCH & Midlantic Theatre Co., Renaissance Newark

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