Former NYPD detective and kidney donor now works for National Kidney Registry in Greenwich
A former NYPD detective is now facilitating lifesaving gifts to people all over the country.
"In December of 2018, I donated my kidney into the National Kidney Registry," says Mike Lollo.
Lollo says he wanted to continue to give back as he was getting ready to retire from the police force. So, he donated a kidney to the National Kidney Registry in Greenwich, not knowing who might receive it.
Months later, Ruth Tisak from Pennsylvania reached out to Lollo on Facebook.
"I said, 'Hey, I think you have my left kidney.' And I hit send. And she sent back this whole very long message on Facebook Messenger," says Lollo.
The two were introduced at a Mets game in July 2019.
"It's so cool that while I'm alive or while you're alive, you can actually see the impact of your generosity," says Lollo.
Lollo says he was so touched by what he had done for Tisak that he started working for the National Kidney Registry and is now its chief strategy officer.
Inside the command center, the National Kidney Registry is able to track kidneys that are being donated and ones that are being received.
A cellphone with GPS tracking travels with each kidney so the organization can make sure it is delivered safely all across the country.
Since it started 16 years ago, the National Kidney Registry has facilitated over 8,000 transplants, helping people live better lives - like NYPD veteran Vadrien Alston, who met her donor Sophia Jackson from Utah this April. The two became fast friends.
"When you give something like this to someone it means the world to them. It allows them to have a normal life, to be more active, to spend more time with their family and to live a longer life," said Alston.
Alston's two original kidneys failed and then her first kidney transplant failed, but a kidney from Jackson in 2021 finally took.
During this giving time of the year, recipients are in dire need.
"Tell your story because you never know who's listening. There's always an angel out there that's willing to help," said Alston.
Of all the famous people Lollo has met in his long career, from the pope to the dalai lama to the president, he says Tisak has been by far the most memorable.
To find out more about the National Kidney Registry and if you'd like to donate go to https://www.kidneyregistry.org/.