PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local woman is giving her dad a late Father’s Day gift. It won’t be wrapped in fancy paper with a bow, but it will save his life.
“He’s going into surgery concerned about me and I am going in concerned about him,” says Alana Pierce, a kidney donor.
Pierce is talking about her 53-year-old father, Joe Repass. She is about to give him one of her kidneys.
He had his last dialysis treatment Wednesday morning at Davida in Elizabeth. It’s something he has done for the last two years, but he has known for most of his life that he is a diabetic.
“Diabetes got my kidneys and my eyes,” said Repass. “I don’t see real well either, had to quit working, can’t drive.”
About a year ago, Repass’ doctor told him it was time to think about kidney transplant surgery. His son and two daughters were tested.
Alana, his middle child, who is married with two small children of her own, was a perfect match.
Although the surgery at Montefiore Hospital is just a few hours away, Repass told KDKA’s Brenda Waters that he has asked his daughter everyday if she is sure about this.
“I kept asking her. Last night, if you are sure you want to do this. If you don’t feel up to it, we don’t have to do it. I said I can keep doing what I got to do, dialysis,” said Repass.
But Pierce, who is a medical surgery nurse, says she’s sure.
“I’m selfish; I am not ready for him to go,” she says. “I don’t like the lifestyle of dialysis, and it’s so hard to see him struggle three, four, five days a week. It’s really a selfish decision. I need him around.”
And Pierce has one more reason.
“I always tell him if I do this for you, I’ll never have to buy you another Christmas gift. I’m the best child now,” she says.