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  • Writer's pictureKidney Foundation of WNY

Seeking a selfless donor

Elena DePaolo successfully battled leukemia. Now she needs a kidney transplant and is hoping a living donor will come forward.

Elena underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a stem cell transplant. Frank – then her boyfriend, now her husband – supported her throughout the treatments. Elena has been in remission since October 2016. Doctors diagnosed Elena with stage 3 chronic kidney disease in May 2017, likely due to the effects of her cancer treatments.

Elena and Frank wanted to start a family of their own. “We ended up participating in IVF where we became pregnant with our daughter, Francesca,” Elena explained. “Due to being high risk it was tricky. Sadly, she was born at 20 weeks and did not survive.”

After the pregnancy, Elena’s kidney disease worsened to stage 4. “Times were very dark, but a huge light came into our lives when we adopted our incredible son, Lorenzo. He is my entire world,” Elena shared.

Elena was evaluated for a transplant through Erie County Medical Center. She had hoped to receive a kidney in November 2021, but the plans fell through. Elena has been sharing her experiences in hopes that a new living donor will step forward.

“I am looking for a generous, selfless person that is interested in helping me,” Elena wrote on the Kidney Connection website. People seeking living donors can post their stories at for free.

“I want to watch my son grow up, I want some normalcy as I forgot what that even feels like,” Elena added.

If you're interested in donating, contact ECMC at 716-898-5001 or email

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