Less than 3 months ago, “06880” posted a plea from Scott Brownlow. His 20-year-old daughter Sammy — a lifelong Westporter — needed a kidney.
Born with congenital abnormalities, she’d endured multiple surgeries. Some worked, but they took a toll on her one remaining kidney. A transplant was the only option.
Scott always assumed he’d be the donor for his gentle, hard-working, multi-talented daughter — currently a pre-med student at RPI. But doctors said he was not a viable option.
Family and friends offered — but no one was cleared to donate. Sammy desperately needed a match.
On Christmas Day, Scott emailed me again. Two weeks earlier, his daughter had gotten her most precious gift: a kidney.
The donor was her kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Giannino.
She has known Sammy ever since that class at the Unquowa School, 17 years ago. Jenn went on to teach in Westport a couple of years later, but Scott, his wife Karen Minkowitz and Sammy kept in touch. They’ve become part of each other’s families.
A year ago, Jenn wondered if she’d be a match. But there was too much going on in her family and life to do the test.
This fall, when Sammy was about to go on dialysis, Jenn got tested. The match was made.
Jenn has been very healthy all her life. Before her pre-test CT scan, she’d never had an IV. Now she volunteered to put her life on hold, spend days in the hospital, and lose an organ — all for a former kindergarten student.
“It’s a rare person who acts so selflessly,” Scott says.
Addressing her directly, he adds: “Jenn, you are an amazing and beautiful person. We can never thank you enough for the gift you have given Sammy. We love you.”
“06880” does too. Happy holidays indeed!