NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Long Island father of three Adam Levitz found his angel here on earth. That angel— Orthodox Rabbi Ephraim Simon.
“To give somebody that chance at life and to bring a husband back to his wife and a father back to his children I I wanted to do that again,” said Rabbi Simon.
The 51-year-old Rabbi, who’s a father of nine, put his own life in jeopardy to save two strangers. He first donated a kidney to one stranger in 2009. As if that act wasn’t selfless enough, he decided to give again. This time, he donated a large portion of his liver to 45-year-old Levitz. Dual organ donors aren’t even allowed at most hospitals in the country because of high-risk complications. So Levitz and Rabbi Simon made their way to Cleveland, Ohio.
“I didn’t believe it at first. I was waiting on a list for almost two years to wait for a liver,” said Levitz. “To be able to see my kids graduate high school, college weddings, it was unbelievable to think somebody would do that for me.”
Levitz met us at the Rabbi’s home in Teaneck, New Jersey. It’s the first time they’ve seen each other since returning home from the liver transplant in December. Through Skype we spoke to Doctor Koji Hashimoto, who performed the transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. Rabbi Simon was only the fourth dual organ donor in the hospital’s history.
"They know that the risk of surgery is very high, but we have very thorough evaluation of the donor and the recipient and we always make sure the donor surgery can be performed very safely,” said Doctor Hashimoto.
Rabbi Simon and Levitz met through a Brooklyn woman, Chaya Lipschutz. She dedicates her life to finding organ matches.
Both men hope their story will inspire others.
“The risks are so minimal and the reward of giving someone back their life is so immense and so great,” said Rabbi Simon.
“The only way I can really thank him is by living a productive life, being there for my kids, doing good for other people and spreading his word,” said Levitz.
A new lease on life and now, an unbreakable bond of brotherhood.
For more information about kidney and organ donation:
Visit Chaya’s website: kidneymitzvah.com
Or email: KidneyMitzvah@aol.com