New kidney is Anthony Marino’s greatest Christmas wish
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022
LAPLACE — In the process of getting back on his feet after losing all of his belongings during Hurricane Ida, Anthony Marino of LaPlace found himself thrown into a fight for his life. His kidney disease had progressed to the point where he had only two options: start dialysis or have six months to live.
This year, Marino’s greatest Christmas wish is to match with a kidney donor who can help restore his quality of life. He has been listed on the transplant list for approximately 120 days as he continues to undergo dialysis multiple times a week.
There are more individuals on the national transplant waiting list than there are available kidneys from deceased organ donors, according to Ochsner Health. Since the human body is able to adapt to life with one kidney, living donor kidney transplants are utilized as life-saving procedures.
Marino is searching for a living donor with an ‘O’ blood type who does not have a history of kidney stones, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer.
“My biggest wish is to find a match. Understand that whoever decides to be a donor is giving me a better chance at life. Understand that you are saving a life,” Marino said.
Marino is well-known throughout St. John the Baptist Parish for his big heart and positive attitude. In his time of need, he has had a support system of friends and family looking out for him.
Michael Hoover, Marino’s caregiver and father figure, has been at the forefront of transporting him to medical appointments, creating low-salt meals, and meeting with transplant and dialysis teams.
Tony’s Tinting, Signs & Printing recently designed “Team Anthony” T-shirts to raise money for Marino’s expenses and help him stay afloat.
Jim’s Body Shop owner Mike Watson, another community member who loves Marino like a son, said he would donate a kidney in a heartbeat if it weren’t for his pre-existing health conditions.
Watson and Marino met years ago after he came into the body shop to get his truck fixed. Marino was there for Watson when his home sustained damage during Hurricane Isaac, and Watson likewise helped Marino look for a new home after his trailer was bulldozed after Ida.
Watson tries to keep Marino’s spirits bright in spite of recent lifechanging events and recently took him out to dinner to celebrate his 40th birthday. However, Watson sees the toll kidney disease and dialysis have taken on Marino’s physical and emotional health.
Marino has endured hospital stays and surgeries since being diagnosed with kidney failure. The graft in his arm gives medical personnel access for dialysis but leads to weakness in his hand, making it harder to perform everyday tasks of living. He’s no longer able to indulge in his favorite foods like oysters and sushi and has lost a lot of weight. He can’t enjoy vacations with the Hoover family, because choosing to miss dialysis would mean choosing to die.
Some days Marino can hardly muster up the energy to stay active, but people wouldn’t always guess what he’s going through.
“I feel good enough to move around and smile. It’s been a journey, but I’m still fighting,” Marino said. “At the end of the day, I know God is watching over me.”
Information on Ochsner’s Living Donor Kidney Transplant Program can be found at www.ochsner.org/services/kidney-and-kidney-pancreas-transplants/living-donor-kidney-transplant-program
For more information, contact Ochsner at 504-842-3925 or at KidneyTransplant@Ochsner.org. Marino can be reached at 504-201-7005.