Boss gives kidney to sick employee

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - November 11, 2009

When it comes to employee benefits, Rob Fenstermaker may have the best around.

Rob works at a Lehigh Valley liquor and his boss, Brian DeAngelis, along with fellow employees saw that Rob was slowly dying.

"We as a store noticed that he was getting sicker and sicker," Brian said.

Rob was giving in to polycystic kidney disease while enduring dialysis treatments.

"It drains your body, it really wears you out," Rob said.

Not content to watch him suffer, Rob's coworkers decided to help. At first, they talked about donating sick leave, then about donating much more.

They then got into the possibility of a transplant.

"It was a really touching thing that not just one but multiple people were willing to go through something like that for me," Rob said.

Rob's coworkers, willing to give a piece of themselves to save him, underwent tests to see if their kidneys were compatible for transplant. None were. But then came Brian's turn.

"I said if it didn't work for them, I'd try and I kept passing all the tests," Brian said.

The boss was a perfect match and more than that, he was a willing one.

"You don't need two kidneys. You only need one," Brian said.

In May, the unlikely pair became fellow patients, undergoing a transplant operation that doctors say went smooth as could be.

Now, this loyal employee and this generous employer are back to work, healthy, and forever linked.

"I'm sure I will know him the rest of my life. We're a good friends now," Brian said. "A unique bond you don't really share with anyone else. I mean, he gave me the ultimate gift," Rob said.

Though Brian ended up being compatible, there were other employees at the liquor store who were willing to get tested if he hadn't been a match.

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