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Kidney transplant between 2 clergy abuse survivors

Kidney transplant between 2 clergy abuse survivors

Phil Saviano and Susan Pavlak led separate lives in different states, fighting for people who _ like them _ had been abused by clergy years ago.
On Wednesday, the former strangers formed a new bond in a Boston hospital as Pavlak donated her kidney to Saviano, who has AIDS.
It all began more than a year ago when doctors told Saviano that his kidneys were failing. To avoid life on dialysis Saviano needed a transplant, but the wait time for a kidney from a non-living donor was too long.
Saviano, who lives in a suburb of Boston and once led the New England chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, had friends in the organization and relatives who offered to donate a kidney. None turned out to be a match.
Earlier this year, the 57-year-old Saviano put out a plea on SNAP's national e-mail list. Several more people volunteered to help, including Pavlak, 55, an abuse survivor who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"She did this without even knowing Phil and with knowing very little about him," said Cyndi Desrosiers, an abuse survivor and Saviano's first friend to get tested.
In all, seven clergy abuse survivors were tested, and Pavlak was the only match.
"Our family is so grateful," said Saviano's brother, Jim.
Jim Saviano said he and other family members were disappointed they couldn't be donors. "I know the struggle he's been going through with his AIDS and everything else he's been going through."
Saviano was abused at central Massachusetts diocese. Pavlak was abused when she was a teenager by a former nun who had become a teacher at her Catholic high school. Saviano's struggle with AIDS also was familiar to Pavlak, who has lost friends to the disease.
She met several of Saviano's friends Monday at a dinner in the Boston area attended by all seven of the abuse survivors who had volunteered their kidneys, Desrosiers said.
"It was so good for him to spend time with her. Often people don't meet their donors," Desrosiers said. "His comment to me was, 'Now I have to figure out what to do with my life to give back.' It's just the kind of person he is."
Dr. Martha Pavlakis, medical director of kidney and pancreatic transplantation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where Pavlak and Saviano had surgery, said Saviano's prognosis is excellent.


Updated : 2021-04-13 23:50 GMT+08:00