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Woodmere resident Estelle Goldfarb looking for a kidney donor

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Woodmere resident Jason Goldfarb is doing whatever it takes to help out his mother, Estelle Goldfarb, who is in need of a kidney transplant. To help speed up the process, he has coordinated an event at Young Israel of Woodmere on Sunday, Nov. 24 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. People will be tested for their blood type by having their mouths swabbed.

According to Goldfarb, he and Estelle, 75, learned earlier this year that she needs a kidney transplant. “Back in March, the doctors told us that my mother’s kidney function dropped to below 20 percent,” Goldfarb said. “They’ve given her three years to live. It was shocking and somewhat terrifying to find this out.”

Goldfarb added that his mother’s situation is more complex than usual. “We’re aware that transplants have become more common in recent years,” he said. “But the doctors say that in my mother’s situation, it involves more than just finding a person with the same blood type.”

He said that doctors told him and his mother that the best chances for a transplant would be to do a paired kidney exchange. This occurs when a living kidney donor is incompatible with the recipient, which leads to exchanging kidneys with another donor/recipient pair. Blood type, age and past health history are the primary factors considered to receive a kidney transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

While Goldfarb’s mother has been on the wait list for six months, UNOS spokesman Joel Newman said that the wait time for a kidney transplant is usually faster than other types of transplants. “Waiting times are generally not as long for other organ types, such as liver, heart and lung,” Newman said. “The most urgent candidates for these forms of transplant are often transplanted within a few weeks, but less urgent candidates may wait a year or longer.

Despite the shocking news, Goldfarb said that Estelle, who is also a Woodmere resident, has remained in good spirits since March. “If people were to spend time with my mother, you would never know that something is wrong,” he said. “Fortunately, her health has been stable since March and she doesn’t need dialysis. At the same time, she realizes that there’s danger lurking in her shadow.”

The event is being held in conjunction with the Brooklyn-based Renewal, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting people suffering from various forms of kidney disease. The Director of Outreach, Josh Sterum explained what the organization looks to accomplish. “We help patients and their families navigate the complex process of a kidney transplant,” Sterum said. “From finding a donor to arranging the transplant and beyond.”

Goldfarb said that the community’s response to the event has been very positive. “My family and I reached out to people we know,” he said. “Since then, the community has gone above and beyond to talk about this. It’s unbelievable.” Goldfarb posted the event information on his Facebook page the night of Nov. 10. As of press time, it was shared by 97 people.

Young Israel of Woodmere is at 859 Peninsula Blvd. in Woodmere. For more information on the event, email R23908@Renewal.org.