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Grace and mercy pave road to kidney transplant recovery

Well, the kidney transplant is complete, and the healing has begun.

Four years to the day that my wife Vivian was found unresponsive on the floor of our apartment, she received the gift of life from a complete stranger who wanted to be faithful to G-d and His calling.

Betty Demartini, a Realtor in Aventura, stepped up and embodied the very definition of grace and mercy by donating a kidney to Vivian after she nearly lost her life in the quest to be thin.

A former model, Vivian’s body-image issues got the best of her. She, unfortunately, started using diet pills, diuretics and laxatives to maintain her physique as the years went by.

The price was high. Her kidney’s failed. For more than 1,200 days, Vivian went to dialysis every sunrise. A 15-inch needle was inserted into the port in her arm. She was given caffeine and her blood was chilled just to maintain her blood pressure.

Basically, it was a near-death experience every time.

Betty knew Vivian’s pain all too well. Her own aunt died of kidney failure before Betty had the chance to donate.

That set inside Betty a resolve to help someone.

And help she did. Thank the Lord she decided to help us. She found us after a Google search led her to our Craigslist ad. A special thanks to Chaya Lipschitz (http://kidneymitzvah.com) for putting that ad together for us.

Click here to see Vivian and Betty meet for the first time.

Now, Betty hasn’t done any of this for prestige or recognition. It was hard for us to even get her to appear on TV. For her, it’s about bringing G-d’s grace to the world.

In fact, she actually helped two people receive a life-giving transplant. We had a donor lined up in New York, and we were going to travel there for the procedure. The financial burden on us would have been staggering. Betty’s presence here in Miami just added to the blessing, and our New York donor followed through and donated to another person.

One decision. Two lives saved.

People ask what kept us going these past four years. What motivated me was Vivian. What motivated Vivian was me. We simply were not going to give up on each other.

But it’s easy to talk about being resilient. The fact is, you can’t be resilient alone. You need a community to help you bear the burden – physical, financial and emotional.

Words fail me when I try to express the thanks and gratitude I feel for everyone who has upheld me and Vivian throughout this odyssey. There are so many of you – both inside and outside the real estate community.

Without you, we never would have made it.

Vivian is on the road to recovery, but there are so many who aren’t. They still need the gift of life that only a kidney transplant can provide.

Click here to listen to our story, and then seriously consider the impact you can have through living kidney donation. To learn more, email r1125@renewal.org or call me at 305-773-6300.

You can also help us – and Betty – financially by visiting https://fundly.com/vivian-fried-kidney-transplant.

To the awesome doctors and staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami Transplant Institute, the words “thank you” will never be enough.

And to Betty Demartini, you are one beautiful, spiritual, loving human being. Vivian and I are your friends for life.

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