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Leo's matriarch seeks kidney donor

Updated: May 11, 2022

Jan. 12, 2022

Antonia Alfano of Jacksonville is in need of a kidney transplant and is seeking a donor. Rochelle Eiselt/Journal-Courier

A Jacksonville [IL] woman who needs a kidney transplant is seeking help in finding a donor.

Antonia Alfano is a native of Sicily, Italy, though her family has been part of the Jacksonville community for 43 years, owning and operating Leo's Pizza.

Now Alfano is battling a genetic kidney disease and needs a transplant from a donor with O-positive blood she said.

A message Alfano posted on Facebook about her plight has had good response, she said.

"I've had a huge response that has just made me very emotional every day," she said.

The community has always been there for her and her family, Alfano said.

"The community has been wonderful," she said. "They have always been there for us and we try to be there for everyone, too."

While the match she needs might be hard to find, Alfano believes the right donor is out there, she said, adding that doctors have told her it might be difficult but it's not impossible.

"The right person is out there for sure," she said.

Alfano said she believes in staying positive. Working at Leo's keeps her busy, as does family — including grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending time.

She wants to continue being there for her family, she said.

"I love being at the restaurant with my customers and taking care of my family," Alfano said. "That's my main thing."

Potential donors can be any age and more are needed, not just to find Alfano a match but for others, she said.

Interested donors can contact Barnes Jewish Hospital at 314-362-5365 for information on how to donate.

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