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When MIT alum Doug Newman sent an e-mail to his Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers titled "Does anyone have a spare kidney?" he wasn't kidding.
The fraternity brothers, who often send humorous e-mails to each other, took this one to heart. Newman had been diagnosed with kidney failure and needed a donor immediately. After extensive testing, close friend Tom Stohlman proved a match.
The two fraternity brothers came to BWH last November for their surgeries, performed by Sayeed Malek, MD, clinical director of Transplant Surgery. Newman, grateful for his friend's generosity, offered to compensate him for the time he was out of work, a practice which is allowed under organ transplant guidelines. Stohlman didn't need the money, but he realized that other donors might.
To help other donors, Stohlman and Newman last week returned to BWH and each made a generous donation to set up the Thomas J. Stohlman and Sanford Newman fund, named in honor of their fathers. Money from this fund will not be used as an incentive for someone to donate. Rather, after someone has made the decision to donate, staff in the Transplant Surgery division will consider whether that person is in need of financial help and eligible to receive small stipends to cover the cost of parking, transportation and other items.
Paul Faircloth, LICSW, of Transplant Surgery, noted the many expenses donors can face and expressed hope that small initial grants will be able to grow as the Stohlman/Newman fund grows.
Pamela Rodman, administrator of Transplant Surgery, hopes that others will build upon Stohlman and Newman's generosity. "We want this fund to become part of the fabric of the Transplant Surgery division," she said.