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Tucson father donates kidney to lifelong mentor

George Sallaberry and Kendrick Pittman
Posted at 7:05 AM, Oct 25, 2021

TUCSON ARIZ. (KGUN) — It's been an interesting couple of months for Kendrick Pittman and George Sallaberry. That's because Kendrick donated his kidney to George who was in desperate need of a donor. George was in Stage 4 kidney failure; he received the diagnosis from his doctor earlier this year.

“Other than taking 20 pills a day and having to keep track of a few things that I’m not supposed to eat, life is back to normal. I tell my friends who ask me how I'm doing, I say most of me is 74-years-old and the rest of me is 32,” Sallaberry said.

On August 12, surgeons at Banner University Hospital performed the surgery and within about six hours it was a done deal. Kendrick was a perfect match.

“In case you didn’t notice, I love this guy that's for sure. It’s an emotional thing to realize that somebody thinks enough of you that they are literally willing to give you a piece of their body. That was a humbling experience,” Sallaberry said.

Nowadays, George is feeling great and so is Kendrick, as for the new kidney - George tells KGUN 9 that things are going well.

"It's really inspiring to be a part of this selfless act,” Pittman said

“The kidney is working great, the folks at Banner and the transplant team have been terrific. Physically of course, now that I don’t have to worry about dialysis for the rest of my life, has improved exponentially,” Sallaberry said.

Kendrick has his own words for those who are on the fence about donating organs.

“It's really cool and eye opening to be a part of something that's greater than myself,”

One thing is for sure these two will have more time to catch up and enjoy life and take it one day at a time.

“We’re planning a trip to Las Vegas in February,” Sallaberry said.

"Life is short and I’ve discovered, fortunately in my young age, that it's all about relationships. So, you really want to give time to the things that matter and not sweat the things that will work themselves out,” Pittman said.