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Father and Son Share More Than a Business Partnership

Parents dedicate their lives to keeping their kids safe and healthy. Most children never get the chance to give back as directly as James (Jamie) Mazzei, though, who bravely made the decision to give his father Michael one of his kidneys in order to save his life.

The father and son team are well known for their nuBest Salon, where they have worked together for 22 years. They recently got together to celebrate the successful transplant and share details of their experience with relief and gratitude.  

Michael, 71, underwent the successful kidney transplant surgery on July 19 at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). It was only a week after they were discharged from the hospital that the grateful father and loving son returned to NSUH to thank the doctors and staff who cared for them and performed their delicate surgeries.

Michael learned three months earlier that he needed a kidney as a result of acute diabetes. After testing, Jamie learned that his kidney was a perfect match for his father.

During a recent news conference, Jamie said his father was concerned about subjecting his son to the surgery, which involved the laparoscopic removal of the kidney by Louis Kavoussi, MD, chair of urology at the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Michael shared, “You worry, what if you let your child do this and then something goes wrong.” But his son was determined.

“My father has always been my teacher,” said Jamie. “We’ve worked side-by-side for more than 20 years. There’s no question that I would provide my father with this gift of life.”

The brave donor was very positive about the experience and said, “I can’t believe how good I feel right now!”

Father and son kissed and hugged several times during the event, with Michael noting that he expects to be back at the salon with his son by the end of August. “We’ve never felt so much love, and we thank everyone,” he said.

Ernesto Molmenti, MD, surgical director of the NSUH Transplant Center, praised Jamie for being “a true 21st century hero.” Dr. Molmenti explained that healthy adults can lead active and complete lives with just one kidney and should not be afraid to offer a kidney to a parent in need. In the same way, said Dr. Molmenti, parents in kidney failure should not feel ashamed to ask their adult children for help. “As you can see from these two,” said Dr. Molmenti, “this procedure will have a wonderful outcome.”

To learn more about the North Shore-LIJ Transplant Center, go to: NSLIJ/transplant.