Gregory 4th-grader works to help father find kidney

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — When Nick Recchia saw that his father, Pete, needed a kidney transplant but wasn’t finding a match, he decided to take charge and do something about it. The Gregory Elementary School fourth-grader called local news station News 12 New Jersey without telling the rest of his family, deciding that if he talked about it on TV it could help his father find a kidney.

“I need my father to get a kidney,” Nick told News 12. “I figured if I talked about it here on TV then maybe someone would help him.”

Pete Recchia was born with only one kidney, and now it is failing. He has been on dialysis and a transplant list for more than two years.

“I can’t do the things I used to do,” Pete Recchia said in a phone interview with the West Orange Chronicle on Jan. 26. “I have dialysis every day, so I can’t really go anywhere. I’m big into fitness and I can’t really work out anymore either.”

Pete Recchia also had to give up his job at PSE&G, where he had worked for seven years.

Nick, who is 10 years old, thought the best way to spread the word that his dad needs a kidney was to take it to the press. But he didn’t tell his father or anyone else what he had done until about an hour before News 12 came to the Recchia home.

“He let us know like an hour before,” Pete Recchia said. “He went on the computer and found a phone number and just scheduled them to come. He said, ‘I’m tired of seeing you suffer,’ so he did this.”

Pete Recchia said Nick’s idea has started to have the effect his son wanted. His transplant coordinator at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia has been receiving calls from people who want to help, and tests are being set up to find out if there is a match.

“She said calls are pouring in,” he said. “My blood type is A positive, so I can be a match with someone who is A or O positive, who can give to anyone. It’s not just blood type though, the tissue and antibodies also have to be a match.”

Anyone who thinks they might be a kidney match, or wants to find out if they are, should call the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia at 800-346-7834 and ask for Pete Recchia’s transplant coordinator.

“He’s a good kid, he’s more than your average 10-year-old,” Pete Recchia said of his son. “He can get on with an adult as well as anyone. Without him and all this publicity, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Photos Courtesy of Pete Recchia