Lehigh woman thankful for Cape Coral doctor donating kidney to save her life

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Anybody that has ever needed a new kidney knows the difficulties of finding an exact match, and the unfortunate reality is that not all kidney patients are able to find the match they need.

That’s why every day Marianne McGriffin is thankful she found a kidney from an unlikely donor.

“I had kidney disease for the past 10 years. I was actually on the cadaver list to receive a cadaver kidney.  You wondered, there’s hundreds of thousands of people with advanced disease, half of them die in dialysis waiting for a kidney and the other half are too sick when their kidney comes and I thought ‘am I gonna be one of those people. It was hard not losing hope,” said McGriffin.

That is when her unlikely matched stepped in to save her life. Cape Coral Dr. Melanie Alitzer is McGriffin’s co-worker at Lee Health, and after learning of her dire need for a new kidney offered her help, granted that they were matching blood types.

“She inquired more and asked what blood type I was and I said “O positive” and she promptly said well “I’m O-positive, I could give you a kidney,” said McGriffin.

Dr. Alitzer credited seeing McGriffin with her grand kids as a big reason she felt like she needed to donate her kidney.

“I think what prompted me to consider donating was when I see her with her grand kids.. being able to be a part of her getting a second chance at life and quality time with her family definitely motivated me,” said Alitzer.

The two went to Tampa General Hospital together, and McGriffin left with the much-needed kidney.

“She saved my life. I’m grateful beyond words,” said McGriffin.

“Who would have thought that two years ago Marianne and I didn’t know each other and then now here we are sitting next to each other, she has one of my kidneys,” said Dr. Alitzer.

Dr. Alitzer says now she wants to lend her voice to living-organ donations and they can help save lives. She encourages anybody wanting to know more about the process to reach out to her via email at melanie.altizer@leehealth.org.

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