A record will be set on World Kidney Day, March 11, as Frank Germinaro of Kenosha, Wisconsin, celebrates the 40th anniversary of his kidney transplant. Diagnosed with kidney disease as a baby and being a chronically ill child, he was hooked up to a dialysis machine when he was 19. Over the years the last thing on his mind was thinking of old age or outlasting the hospital where the operation took place, which he has.
There being no dialysis unit in the region, his parents, a factory laborer with 8th grade education and housewife mother trained themselves as dialysis operators. But because of Frank, the local Italian community rallied and established a dialysis unit in Kenosha.
Now a father of four grown children, he lives life as a content man with a career as a school principal, and as a conductor/musical director of the Kenosha Pops/Concert Band. He received the kidney of a 13-year-old girl who died of a brain tumor and is still weighed down with gratitude for his donor's family. "She was a young girl with a future ahead of her and because of her I've been able to have one," says Frank.
Frank, through his leadership in the National Kidney Foundation, and serving on the NKFs Patient and Family Council and in a special workgroup that has developed practice guidelines for kidney specialists, is hoping to use these as a tribute to the young girl, but for whom his life would be valueless.
Frank will celebrate his special anniversary on March 11, the World Kidney Day, as having one of the longest-lasting transplanted kidneys in the U.S. by spreading the word about the importance of early detection of kidney disease and the life-saving power of organ donation. This is his extraordinary homage to her.