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May 21, 2019

Paying it forward: NYPD detective donating kidney to a stranger

November 28, 2018
NYPD Intelligence Bureau Detective Michael R. Lollo, outside Police Headquarters. In a selfless act Detective Lollo is donating one of his kidneys to an unknown recipient next week. November 28, 2018, Manhattan, NY. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

This time next week, NYPD Detective Michael Lollo will feel like he’s been hit by a bus.

But it’ll be worth it, because he’ll be donating one of his kidneys to someone who desperately needs it.

While most donate their kidneys to friends and loved ones, Lollo has agreed to take part in a good Samaritan donation to a complete stranger with the understanding that at a second person will receive a life-saving kidney through his uber-altruistic efforts.

“I went into this to help one person,” Lollo, 46, said Wednesday. “To be able to help any more people is just icing on the cake with a cherry on top.”

Lollo will be donating his kidney at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center on Tuesday. The organ will go directly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C. where it will be given to a 59-year-old mother of two.

In return, the woman’s husband, a Marine, will donating a kidney to another blind match, Lollo said.

The 19-year-old NYPD veteran first thought about donating a kidney in April when he heard that a fellow officer needed a transplant.

He quickly learned that he wasn’t a match for the cop, but, after reading about a man who put up a billboard in Times Square soliciting a kidney, Lollo realized thousands of people needed something that he takes for granted every day.

“For me, I fell like its risk versus reward,” the Long Island man said. “The risk to myself is so small, but the outcome (to the recipient) is so great. I talked to a lot of people who are on dialysis and had to be hooked up to machines three or four times a week. Without getting a kidney they are going to die.”

Lollo is fully aware about what’s in store — the first few days after surgery are not going to be fun.

“The people I spoke to, almost all of them said they’ve never been hit by a bus, but if they were to get hit, that’s what they would feel like,” Lollo said. “After that, the most common thing is fatigue.”

Lollo will be out of commission for about four weeks as he recovers, but, if all goes well, he will be back at his post at the NYPD’s Threat Assessment and Protection Unit in Brooklyn in no time.

“I spoke to six organ donors, every single person is living the life they lived before, minus one kidney,” he said. “Someone told me that if he somehow lost his memory, he would never even know he gave a kidney up.”

“For me, just to be laid up in the hospital for a couple of days and not going to work for a few weeks, I don’t understand why more people wouldn’t consider doing it,” he said.

Lollo admits that he would like to meet the woman he is helping, but if he never gets that chance, that’ll be fine too.

“It’s a gift,” he explained. . “There are no strings attached. When you donate money to your favorite organization you don’t follow the money and see where the money goes, you hope that the money is being used for the intent that they advertised. I’m confident that the national kidney registry found the best possible match for me.”

NYPD Intelligence Bureau Detective Michael R. Lollo, at Police Headquarters at 1 Police Plaza. November 28, 2018, Manhattan, NY.
NYPD Intelligence Bureau Detective Michael R. Lollo, at Police Headquarters at 1 Police Plaza. November 28, 2018, Manhattan, NY. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

His boss, Lt. Evan Minogue, fully supports Lollo’s decision.

“It’s an inspiring story,” Minogue said. “He’s jumping over a lot of hurdles to help a stranger. But it’s not all about himself, it’s about something bigger. There is something more important than yourself sometimes.”

As an added bonus, Lollo will be home for the holidays, Minogue said.

“He’s going an awful long way to get Christmas off,” he joked.

To learn more about the National Kidney Registry Exchange Program, one can click here.

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