‘We’ll be bonded forever’: man donates kidney to fellow firefighter
Rob Connor and Mike Wolf will soon share something in common, besides both being firefighters.
Wolf is donating his kidney to Connor, who has been living with the disease IGA nephropathy since 1998.
“I got hired by Oshawa Fire Department and lost my job with them due to the kidney disease,” said Connor.
He managed to stabilize his health, find work with Toronto Fire, but his declining health has had him looking for a donor over the last two years.
Connor turned to his union for help once his friends and family were eliminated as matches.
Several firefighters were tested and Wolf was found to be a match about four months ago.
“I didn’t think the odds of me being a match were that likely,” said Wolf, who resides in Wellington County. “But I figured I’d at least try.”
The two men know each other from working at neighbouring fire halls, but weren’t friends outside of work.
“I knew he had young kids,” said Wolf. “If I was in his situation I would hope someone would do the same thing for me.”
The two say the match-testing process has brought them closer together and helped form a new friendship.
“We’ll be bonded forever,” said Connor.
Other firefighters have already stepped up to cover shifts while they recover for the next few months.
On the home front in Wellington County, neighbours and loved ones are helping Wolf adjust.
“We had somebody mowing our lawn the other day because they know we have so much to do,” said Wolf’s wife Meredith. “There are meals being dropped off.”
The surgery is set for Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.