Philadelphia/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 12, 2024
Kidney Donor Meets Recipient at Philadelphia Phillies Game in a Celebration of Gratitude and HopeSource: Unsplash / Robina Weermeijer

In a poignant scene at Citizens Bank Park, Joe DeMayo of Northeast Philadelphia, and his kidney donor, Marybeth Foster from Maryland, met for the first time in a moment that transcended the ordinary pre-game fanfare. According to 6abc, the pair were united on the field Thursday night, solidifying a connection that's both profound and medical.

Thrown by Foster, the ceremonial first pitch marked a celebration of life and gratitude, representing more than just the start of a baseball game. It celebrated the gift of life that DeMayo received after confronting an acute illness that rendered his first transplant, donated by his wife a decade earlier, ineffective. DeMayo, who has been given a second chance at life, found the words to express his gratitude, saying, "Thank you so much," as he told 6abc, "I think I could never say it enough. It's changed everything."

Foster's decision to donate was born from her health battles with Nutcracker's Syndrome, a rare renal condition that led to the removal of her perfectly healthy kidney, later rejuvenating DeMayo's life. Revealing her altruism and determination, Foster told FOX29, "It’s crazy to think that something that was killing me can almost save someone else. And when I found out I can heal someone, I didn’t take a step back."

Their meeting, coinciding with National Living Donor Day, aimed to emphasize the significance of organ donation. Before an audience of 33,000 fans, the impact of one kidney donation rippled through the stands. As DeMayo gratefully acknowledged his donor, he understood that his words were a minuscule offering in the face of such a life-altering gesture. "Thank you. I said I don’t think I could say it enough. It changed everything," DeMayo said to Foster, as reported by FOX29.