Stories about: Nephrology

Transplant research: Paving the way for a perfect match

Sarah and John Paul Pastore

Sarah Pastore was born with bright blue eyes, a beautiful smile and a single, failing kidney. She fared well in her first few months, but by the time she approached her first birthday her prognosis was clear: without a kidney transplant the little girl from North Reading, Mass., was sure to die.

Her parents, Nancy and Robert, were screened to see if they could be potential donors, but neither was a good match. Because Sarah’s brother John Paul is under 18, he wasn’t eligible to donate. It looked like the next stop was the organ donor list.

But before her name could be submitted to the list, her uncle, Anthony Pastore, was tested to see if he and his niece would be compatible for transplant. As luck would have it, they were, and the 32-year-old Woburn man quickly offered one of his kidneys to save her.

With the live donor identified, Sarah was well on her way to better health. But how exactly do doctors fit an adult kidney in a toddler’s body?

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