Quincy community rallies support for army veteran in need of Kidney

QUINCY, Mass. — Dozens of people came out to support a U.S. Army veteran in need of a kidney at a fundraiser at Alba restaurant in Quincy Sunday.

“He came from a different country with the goal to serve in the United States Army, and he was able to do so for several years and then his dreams were dashed because he was diagnosed with kidney failure,” said Sharon Kreitzer, founder of Donor Outreach for Veterans.

Aleksander Pallko dedicated his life to serving others in the U.S. Army. He never thought he’d be the one needing help until he was diagnosed with kidney disease.

“I never thought I was going to come to this moment because for a long time when you have a condition like this, you try to hide from others,” said Pallko. “But what I learned by meeting the right people, I learned this is not something to be afraid you have to talk to people.”

Pallko says more than 1600 veterans are awaiting a kidney transplant right now, and the average wait time for that kidney is about 5 years.

“Veterans are often times people who would be the first to offer to donate their kidney, they’re used to serving others, they’re very uncomfortable with asking for help,” said Kreitzer.

That’s where Sharon Kreitzer comes in. Her organization matches kidney donors with veterans who need that transplant.

“We can’t guarantee that he’ll find a kidney donor, but we can guarantee that he feels the love of the community and that we have his back,” said Kreitzer. “And I want all veterans to know we have their back.”

Kreitzer says just raising awareness about the need for kidney donors is key right now since she says many vets die while waiting for one.

She hopes events like this will inspire more people to become a donor – and save someone’s life.