From One Donor to Another: A Kidney Donation Journey Inspires Compassion

In the spirit of giving, I recently donated my kidney to my husband, Edmund, and we were fortunate to be a match. Our journey, however, led me to the story of Clark Pitura, a dedicated detective facing the challenging quest for a kidney. Inspired by his resilience, I felt compelled to extend a helping hand.


  1. A Gift of Life to Edmund: The decision to donate my kidney to my husband brought us closer and filled our lives with gratitude. Our successful match reaffirmed the power of organ donation in transforming lives.
  2. The Fortunate Reality: As we basked in our good fortune, I stumbled upon Clark Pitura’s kidney journey. His struggles in finding a match and enduring extensive medical treatments reminded me of the fragility of life.
  3. Clark Pitura’s Battle: Clark, a seasoned detective, faced a health crisis after contracting COVID-19. The prescribed medication, while saving his life, took a toll on his kidneys. His family’s difficult decision led to a journey of challenges, medical leave, and the harsh realities of Type 1 Diabetes.
  4. The Urgent Need for a Donor: Despite being a perfect match, Clark’s wife, Lia, couldn’t donate due to size considerations. Family members and social media outreach proved insufficient. Clark’s situation highlights the critical shortage of organ donors in the face of a staggering number of individuals awaiting transplants.
  5. The Hopeful Solution: Kidney Swap Program: Clark’s registration with the Recanati/Miller Transplant Institute introduced a glimmer of hope through the “kidney swap” program. This innovative approach facilitates paired donations, offering an accelerated path to transplant for those in need.
  6. The Plea for Kidney Donors: Clark’s journey has inspired a call to action. The need for kidney donors is urgent, with over 100,000 individuals on the national transplant list. The possibility of saving lives through donation is within reach for anyone willing to contribute.



Local Cop in Desperate Need of a Kidney Donation

But in one Lewisboro native’s case, it should translate to “Officer needs a kidney.”

Clark Pitura, a longtime detective with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, was on duty in 2021 when he contracted COVID and was hospitalized in critical condition.



The doctors suggested a certain medication that, they warned, could save his life but could also possibly harm his kidneys.

Pitura’s family made the tough decision to go ahead with the treatment.

He and his wife, Lia, an occupational therapist with the Lakeland Central School District, have one son, Dylan, who is now in college.


The now 51-year-old dad survived but had to undergo six months of pulmonary rehabilitation and be placed on medical leave.

To top things off, Pitura was dealing with Type 1 Diabetes, a disease he was diagnosed with when a student at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Orangeburg.

(A 1990 graduate John Jay High School in Cross River, he grew up in Goldens Bridge and then lived in Katonah before moving to Brewster in Putnam County. Lia grew up in Katonah and graduated from John Jay in 1991.)


Pitura had been working hard to get healthy enough to return to duty when he got the bad news that tests showed his kidneys had taken a big hit.

Doctors had hoped the organs would rebound, but they got “worse and worse,” he said.

There were times when Pitura was so fatigued he couldn’t get out of bed by himself.


By 2022, the “writing was on the wall,” namely that he was heading for dialysis and would most likely need a transplant, ideally from a living donor.

Although a perfect match, Lia couldn’t donate because she’s petite (about 5 foot 2) and doctors said her kidney would be too small for her 6-foot-plus spouse. Several cousins also stepped up, but unfortunately were medically disqualified.

“It was nice of them to try, but it just didn’t work out,” Pitura said.

The family turned to social media and also reached out to Pitura’s college pals and fellow church parishioners.

“Everybody knows, but it’s a BIG ask,” he acknowledged recently.

According to, there are currently 103,327 men, women, and children in the U.S. on the national transplant list. The National

Kidney Foundation set the average time frame for waiting at three to five years at most transplant centers. It can be even longer in some geographic regions of the country.

There is a swap program where any healthy person willing to donate can. They do not have to be an exact match for Pitura.

(You only need one kidney to live a full, healthy life. Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, which doesn’t require large incisions.

Recuperation is quick, usually two weeks after surgery. Insurance and evaluation costs are covered by the recipient’s policy.)

Pitura is registered with the Recanati/Miller Transplant Institute (RMTI) of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

Here’s how its living donor team explains the institute’s “kidney swap” program.

Say the prospective donor, “Mary,” wants to give a kidney to her friend “Joe,” but has a blood type that isn’t compatible. Mary and Joe are entered into the program’s data base as “a pair.”

They remain on the list until a second “pair” – one of whom will be a match – is identified, the spokesperson said. But once that happens, it’s usually only two to three weeks before transplant surgery takes place.

Joe gets a kidney from the matching donor and Mary donates one of hers to a second recipient.

Besides saving a stranger’s life, Mary’s selfless act moves her to the top of the list for a kidney (from a deceased donor) transplant should she need one in the future.

To take the donor survey, visit

For more information, visit or; or call (212) 731-7684.

Pitura underwent a “fistula” procedure in 2022 that grafted an artery and vein in his arm to prepare him for dialysis, a treatment that removes water, waste products, and toxins from the bloodstream.

By May 2023, Pitura was visiting a clinic in Jefferson Valley three days a week, an experience he calls “life-changing” and “humbling.”

Although he knew dialysis was buying him time, Pitura was sad that it put the kibosh on favorite outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, and canoeing.

Gratitude has kept him going.

“Whenever I walk into the clinic I say to myself, I’m walking out of here and there are lots of people who aren’t as fortunate as I am,” Pitura said, adding: “As poor shape that I’m in, I look like Captain Fitness in comparison to some other folks.”

However, it doesn’t make having to be tethered to a machine that resembles a commercial “Slushie maker” for 19 or 20 hours a week any less miserable.

“The problem is that there’s no end in sight; it’s not like a broken bone or a wound that’s going to heal. It’s never-ending; it can make you cry,” he explained.

That’s not to say Pitura’s not extremely thankful that he has access to life-saving medical care.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing,” he said.

Pitura’s kidneys have deteriorated to the point where even dialysis isn’t doing the job. He needs a transplant, and fast.

Having to be hospitalized three times this fall so that excess fluids could be drained from his body, Pitura missed his 18-year-old son’s first Thanksgiving home from college.

Asked how Dylan is holding up, the proud father said he’s “surprisingly confident in dealing with the situation and is being so supportive.”

“Of course, he wishes it wasn’t happening,” Pitura added.

Lia is impressed with her spouse’s fortitude and resilience and grateful that the family has been able to find new ways to be together.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice,” she told Halston Media recently.

There’ve been a lot of emotional ups and downs along the way, but the Pituras feel “unbelievably fortunate to have a lot of people rooting for us,” Lia said.

Folks in the law enforcement community are rallying around.

Last spring, Westchester B.L.U.E. (Brothers in Law Enforcement Uniting Efforts) Foundation and the New York City Environmental Police Benevolent Association held a fundraiser to help the Pituras. There was food, raffles, T-shirts, music, and a 50-50 drawing.

Founded in 2011 by former Mount Vernon homicide detective Matthew Frank, B.L.U.E helps active and retired police officers who are experiencing emotional, physical, and financial difficulties.

“There are so few resources, we have to rely on ourselves and be there for one another,” he explained.

“Whatever their needs may be, they just have to reach out and we’ll be there, 24/7, 365,” said Frank of cops in crisis.

Calling the Pituras “a lovely family,” he added: “Clark is awesome; his wife’s the best; and their son is a very smart young man.”

Frank said it was important that people “realize that there are all kinds of dangers police officers face on the job.”

(He was seriously wounded in 2006 by a shooting suspect he’d been questioning.)

While most are obvious – injury or death caused by persons or animals, traffic accidents, and even suicide – the one thing that folks don’t usually think about is exposure to illnesses.

The impact on first responders and medical providers became painfully apparent during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Despite the personal risks, they’d take them “again and again and again” because “when you’re a police officer, it’s in your heart. It’s not just a job, it’s part of who we are,” Frank said.

Officers have to take care of themselves and their brothers and sisters in blue, he said, recalling a favorite analogy.

“I tell people then, when you are in the police academy, one of the things they teach you is how to drive a certain way. You have to stop at signs and lights; you can’t just blow through them. Proceed with caution. Because if you don’t get there, you can’t help anybody else,” he said.

To donate to B.L.U.E visit and click on the “About Us” and then the “Donate Now” buttons. To direct funds to Pitura, specify that in the notes section.

Pitura’s goal is not only to be there for his family but to get healthy enough to return to the career he loves.

Among the friends pulling for him is Joe Parrello, a Harrison police officer who had been Dylan Pitura’s football coach.

“Clark’s an amazing man, a great husband, and a great dad. He’s lived a life of service and someone’s donating a kidney would be the perfect way to give back,” he said.