by CELINA ARZOLA
After a year of waiting, New Jersey resident, Nina Saria, has finally been given the kidney she has been dreaming of. In 2015 Saria had been prepping for surgery when her transplant fell through due to the fact that her donor had organ complications.
Glenn Calderbank, the original donor, had come across Saria’s husband’s Craigslist post who was looking for “a brave person” to donate a kidney. Calderbank had been kind enough to be the person to volunteer his kidney for Saria. Unfortunately, surgeons halted the operation shortly after it had begun, due to concerns about the state of Calderbank’s organs.
Saria began to lose hope that her kidney would never come, especially when her mother had been a perfect match, but lived in Georgia. On multiple occasions the State Department had rejected the family’s visa to stay, leading to Senator Bob Menendez stepping in and fixing the problem.
“When you have an American citizen’s life who is depending upon this visa, then that should call for a higher level of engagement and not a checklist,” Menendez said. Menendez helped the family qualify for “humanitarian parole” ― a step federal immigration officials describe as an “extraordinary measure” ― allowing foreigners to enter the U.S. “for a temporary period…due to a compelling emergency.”
Thanks to Senator Menendez, Saria was able to have a safe and successful transplant. She said her recovery is going well and is looking forward to spending time with her family as a new woman.