Wanna be a teacher’s pet for life? Don’t give an apple — give a kidney.
That’s what Ali Golian, 30, did for his former teacher Sonia Leonardo.
Golian and Leonardo go back to 2010, when he studied radiology under the now-42-year-old at London’s Kings College Hospital. “Sonia was an incredible teacher,” Golian tells South West News Service. He credits her with inspiring his career track (he’s now a radiology-equipment tutor).
After Golian graduated from school, he landed a job at Leonardo’s hospital. The two became fast friends, and worked together for two years. But they fell out of touch after she changed jobs.
Fast forward to five years later, when a Facebook post caught Golian’s eye. Leonardo’s sister was thanking friends for sending get-well flowers on her sister’s behalf. Concerned, Golian texted Leonardo.
His mentor and friend, he learned, was home on sick leave due to complications from polycystic kidney disease. The genetic disorder had caused cysts to grow in her kidneys, and she was in dire condition: Her kidney function had been reduced to 10 percent.
The transplant list, she told Golian, had a projected wait list of three years — and in the meantime, staying alive would mean enduring five half-hour dialysis sessions every single day.
‘It is a bond that will exist between us forever and could never be broken.’
Golian needed to hear no more. He texted her, “If it works, I’d be happy to give you one of mine.”
She protested at first, but he remained steadfast — so the two took tests to see if they were a match.
Miraculously, they were.
In May, Leonardo and Golian went under the knife together. Leonardo is now dialysis-free and has a 78 percent kidney function. She’ll be heading back to work in a few weeks — and the two text every day now.
“I’m really, really happy she is doing so well,” Gollian says. “I can see her getting better before me. She is just glowing.”
“[We’re like] brother and sister,” Leonardo adds. “It is a bond that will exist between us forever and could never be broken.”
Photo Credit: eKidney Clinic