Buy a holiday plant, help a transplant patient

November 30, 2011 4:45:35 PM PST
A New Jersey man has a second chance at life thanks, in part, to caring family, friends and neighbors.

John Rigolizzo, of Berlin, has a new kidney and his neighbors are selling and buying poinsettia plants to make sure he keeps it!

"I'm very grateful and every day is a new day," John said. "I hope this kidney lasts a while."

John, a life-long farmer, learned he had stage 5 kidney disease in 2007.

"I was so sick. You don't realize how sick you can be," he said.

After waiting four years for a donor, John thought he had one - until that person backed out at the last minute. That's when John's daughter, Marita, stepped up.

"The next day my daughter said 'You can have one of mine," John said.

Marita gave her dad a kidney in March, but John's second chance at life has come at a very high price. The average price for the transplant alone is $250,000 dollars.

Just one of his anti-rejection medications costs more than $400.

"I take18 pills every night," John said.

To help out, John's cousin, a nurse, and her husband, Tom Kadar, an orthodontist, came up with an idea - to sell Poinsettia plants for the holidays, and used the proceeds to help John pay his medical bills.

"We knew there were going to be ongoing costs," Tom said. "So, with the creativity of my wife, she thought 'transplant,' and the idea of a plant came to mind."

The Kadars have already sold hundreds of plants and have raised more than $1,500 to help John.

He now has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and has just one wish for the holiday.

"I've got a 12-year-old son at home. If I could see him get out of high school college, that would mean a lot to me.

If you would like to help, USE THIS ORDER FORM to buy a plant and help John in his recovery.

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