A rabbi and a pastor walk into a parking lot. The pastor asks how the rabbi is doing. He replies, “I’ve been better, I am sick and in need of a new kidney”, to which she replies, “I’ll give you one of mine!”
No this isn’t a punchline, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship started by the desire to give someone a second shot at life. Andy Bossov, a rabbi who was experiencing health issues, had an allergic reaction to his medication. The reaction was so strong that he ended up going to a doctor who then told him his kidneys were functioning at twenty percent. He had no physical symptoms and was told that had he not come in sooner, he would have entered renal failure.
Bossov began to try and find a match for a possible kidney transplant. None of his family members were a match and he let his community know that he was looking for a new kidney. Bossov was also part of an interfaith clergy group where he inadvertently met his new donor Karen, a Methodist minister who was immediately on board to help change the life of a fellow community member. She met him in the parking lot after a meeting and asked him what was going on.
He let her know that he was having trouble finding a match for a kidney transplant and she thought on it for a second and replied, “I’ll give you one of mine.”
After a night of praying on this discussion with her husband, Karen called Bossov the next morning saying that she was ready move forward with the transplant. It took about a year before they were both approved for the surgery. Karen was in the process of getting a hysterectomy due to issues with fibroids and a lymph node in her abdomen. After Karen’s successful procedure they were cleared for the transplant surgery around Christmas and Hanukkah, making this even more of a true holiday miracle. Bossov was extremely grateful he was able to receive a transplant so soon with little to no issues. “I have a lifetime of favor to repay and I want to make sure that anybody who can avoid this gets properly cared for by their general practitioner,” he said.
Bossov then decided that he wanted to give back to the kidney community in any way that he could. He attended a Walk for Kidneys event in Philadelphia and the rest was history. “I have continued to be active with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, I went to Springfield, IL for an advocacy program” he said, “Anything we can do to strengthen the general kidney community is important. It’s important to get awareness out there.” Andy’s involvement in NKFI events eventually led him to become the 2022 Walk Planning Committee Chair.
His advice for those participating in the 2022 Walk for Kidneys event this year? “Reach out to everyone five times and don’t let people say no. People will give in if you persist.” he said, “Diabetes and kidney disease aren’t going anywhere.” He is also a kidney health coach and advocate who actively encourages people to stay on top of their health. “Listen to doctor’s orders, stay fit, and exercise. Even seated exercise can be helpful”, he said, “Just go for a walk, anything you can do to maintain. Be as fit and ready as you can. Do the best you can, so that your overall health doesn’t suffer. And most of all be happy! Stay positive.”