Donor Drive Aims To Deliver Kidney For Beloved North Jersey Grandmother

A North Jersey man’s tireless campaign to find a kidney donor for his grandmother continues with a walk-in donor drive next month.

Theresa Labarck of Wayne with grandson TJ Sullivan of Saddle Brook.
Theresa Labarck of Wayne with grandson TJ Sullivan of Saddle Brook. Photo Credit: TJ Sullivan

TJ Sullivan of Saddle Brook is hosting the National Kidney Month event at the Saddle Brook Veterinary Center from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 25.

It’s all part of the “A Kidney For Mommom” campaign.

Theresa Labarck, 70, of Wayne "is one of the strongest women I know," said Sullivan of Saddle Brook. "Her positive attitude and determination to stick around for her family has kept her alive this long."

It's also kept Sullivan pursuing all avenues to keep the spotlight on "Mommom" LaBarck, who for the past three decades has lived with polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

His efforts include a GoFundMe campaign to find that elusive organ and help pay for medical expenses that insurance doesn't cover.

PKD creates fluid-filled cysts that cause kidneys to enlarge and eventually lose function. The results include high blood pressure, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, aneurysms and back pain.

LaBarck, who's currently in renal failure, is listed with the Organ Transplant Living Donor Program at Hackensack University Medical Center, Sullivan said. She has dialysis three times a week.

"Unfortunately, time is not on our side," her grandson said.

Sullivan was tested to be a donor but couldn't because of hypertension. So he continues to stage community fundraisers while researching the disease.

For her part, LaBarck has said a transplant would give her "more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life. A transplant would also give me more time to do the fun things I enjoy most, like spending time with my family and friends.

"However, finding a kidney for a transplant is not easy," said the Paterson native, who moved to Wayne nearly 20 years ago. "Unfortunately, time is not on my side. Some wait for years, and many die while waiting. However, there is another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor.

"Asking a family member or a friend to consider donating a kidney to me is difficult, but it greatly improves my chances of getting a transplant," she said. "A living kidney donation typically lasts longer and has better function."

Her grandson, for one, hopes the events, word of mouth – and some new wrinkles -- create that opportunity.

Saddle Brook Veterinary Center, at 390A Market Street, is owned and operated by Dr. Genna Aronovici. TJ’s mom (and Terry’s firstborn daughter, Sharen) is the office manager there.

A Kidney For Mommom” will be selling new merchandise at the donor drive, Sullivan said. That includes hoodies, tumblers, mugs, baseball caps and pens.

There will also be information available on organ donation, along with donor candidate forms for those interested in a possible donor.

There will also be raffle prizes, including gift certificates, gift baskets and sports memorabilia.

All proceeds will go towards medical bills and other finances – including what Sullivan said he hopes will be post-op care.

Refreshments will be provided by Mucci’s Italian Market, which is owned by his aunt (and Terry’s second-born daughter), Renee.


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