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Living Kidney Donor Volunteers Stepping Up to Test as Match for Branford's Torelli

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In the few weeks since Branford's Clare Torelli publicly shared her need to find a living organ donor due to Stage 4 out of Stage 5 kidney failure, the community has been coming through to help spread the word, and volunteers have been stepping up to be tested as a match.

Photo Courtesy Clare Torelli

In the few weeks since Branford's Clare Torelli publicly shared her need to find a living organ donor due to Stage 4 out of Stage 5 kidney failure, the community has been coming through to help spread the word, and volunteers have been stepping up to be tested as a match. (Photo courtesy Clare Torelli)

In the few weeks since Branford's Clare Torelli publicly shared her need to find a living organ donor due to Stage 4 out of Stage 5 kidney failure, the community has been coming through to help spread the word, and volunteers have been stepping up to be tested as a match.

In an update shared with Zip06/The Sound on Friday, Sept. 3, Torelli said that, while a match has not yet been located, she has learned that the response from those willing to be tested has caused a waiting list, in her name, to be created at the testing center.

"It's overwhelming, to know that there's that many people going," said Torelli.

She said she found out about the turnout after a friend, Bill O'Brien, had shared her call for help on his Facebook page.

"A gentleman called him who went to be tested as donor, and he went and filled out all the paperwork; and then they told him there's a waiting list to be tested -- for me!" said Torelli. "I know of ten people who went to be tested so far. A few of them have been rejected, and the other results we're still waiting for."

Torelli said additional potential match donors had also responded to news of her need after it was shared in August by friend and well-known DJ John "Cadillac" Saville and as a story with Zip06/The Sound.

As previously reported (see related story), Torelli, 73 has a genetic disorder, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which is prevalent in her family. Due to her age, she doesn't qualify for a new medication which is now stabilizing the condition in her son. While Torelli's Stage 4 diagnosis qualifies her to be placed be on the deceased organ donor list, the wait for an organ is 5 to 8 years; and those on the list can't exceed the age of 78. There are no age restrictions to receive a living kidney donation.

A Branford native, Torelli is a Branford Board of Education employee of over 40 years, with 35 of those years serving as a member of the Branford High School (BHS) front office team. She's currently serving her 7th elective term as a member of the Branford Representative Town Meeting, representing District 1. Torelli recently returned back to work at BHS and is happy to be there.

"I'm feeling well, other than I get tired a little more quickly than I normally do," said Torelli. "It's good to be back."

Because she has a rare blood type, 0 negative, Torelli said the more people who continue to be willing to volunteer to test for a match, the better her chances of finding a donor.

"I'm just praying I can get a donor before I have to go on dialysis, and I'm hoping, with all these people, that somebody will be able to be a match," she said.

Those wishing to test for a living kidney donor match for Clare Torelli can contact the Yale-New Haven Hospital Transplantation Center's Center for Living Organ Donors by calling (866) 925-3897 to make an appointment (visit ynhh.org/organdonation to learn more).


Pam Johnson covers news for Branford and North Branford for Zip06. Email Pam at p.johnson@shorepublishing.com.

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