Community comes together to help school employee in need of Christmas miracle

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Kristin Thorne has more on the Long Island community coming together to support one of their own.

An entire community on Long Island is coming together to help the school district's maintenance supervisor, who is in dire need of a kidney transplant.

Frank Petrizzo, 48, affectionately known as "Frog," has worked with the Glen Cove School District for nearly 20 years.

In May, he fell into renal failure. His kidneys are functioning only at a combined six to eight percent. It's the result of being on a medication for six years to treat eczema and psoriasis. The medication can cause renal failure. He began emergency dialysis last week.

Petrizzo has two children in the Glen Cove School District, Julia, 11, and Sophia, 9.

"I have two kids I have to worry about and that's what's getting me right now," Petrizzo said in tears to Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.

The entire Glen Cove community has held several fundraisers on Petrizzo's behalf. The most recent -- a high school talent show in November -- raised $2,000 for the Petrizzo family.

Petrizzo has had to miss several days of work due to hospitalizations and not feeling well enough to work.

"We want him back at work, we want him back in the community, we want him back at all of our events without worrying that he's not in good health," said Glen Cove Superintendent Maria Rianna.

Teachers and students have also been wearing t-shirts and green bracelets, trying to raise awareness about the importance of becoming a kidney donor.

"You don't know what kind of support you have out there until stuff like this happens and everybody comes together," Petrizzo said.

His children and wife, Michelle Petrizzo, are also grateful to the community, including the Knights of Columbus, the Glen Cove Youth Board and many others who have raised money for the family and general awareness about kidney donations.

"It really helps us, it gives us a lot of support and it just makes us feel so happy," Sophia Petrizzo said.

Julia Petrizzo said it hasn't been easy seeing her father in pain.

"I just want him to feel better," she said in tears.

Last month, Petrizzo had a potential donor, a good friend. But the donor found out he has diabetes and was unable to be a donor. Michelle Petrizzo matches Petrizzo's blood type, O positive, but she has lupus and does not qualify to be a donor.

Michelle Petrizzo had a message for anyone considering becoming a donor for her husband or for someone else.

"Be brave and step up. You know, it's important. You can help somebody, you can help so many people, just be brave, take a chance," she said.

Petrizzo and his family are hoping for a Christmas miracle by finding a kidney donor.

"I'm not going to stop, you know, I have to find that kidney," Frank Petrizzo said.

People can live perfectly healthy lives with only one kidney. If you are interested in becoming a kidney donor for Frank Petrizzo call (212) 263-3621 or email nyutrlivingdonor@nyumc.org. You must reference the name Francesco Petrizzo.
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