In an exclusive interview with 12 News, a Valley Rabbi says he's doing well after donating his kidney to save a young Israeli man.
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz has been the executive director at the Valley Beit Midrash for the past two years. In a FaceTime interview from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, he shared about the touching experience.
"For years, I've just been hearing news of people dying and it constantly feels tragic and I feel so helpless," he said.
So Yanklowitz decided to be a part of the solution in a major way, by saving the life of a complete stranger
"Last Tuesday I donated a kidney to an orphan who was in dire need, who was going to die. He had been on dialysis for a number of years," Yanklowitz said.
He met the recipient, Yosef Azran, for the first time just moments before the surgery.
"We both broke down crying, hugging each other and I felt this sense that we're not strangers with one another in the world," Yanklowitz said. "I felt like this is my brother."
Then it was time.
"They took my kidney out and put in immediately in to him and brought him back to life really," he said.
Yanklowitz still has a few more weeks of recovery in New York before returning to the Valley.
"The first two days I felt like I got hit by a truck, but the days after, it's amazing," he said. "I've been recovering day after day."
By doing this, he's following what he preaches.
"Our lives are so short and there are immense opportunities all around us to have a deep impact," he said.
"For me it was worth it at the end of the day for someone else to live," Yanklowitz said. "I really feel like I was a part of a miracle."
Yanklowitz hopes by sharing about his donation, others will consider organ donation.
If not a living donation, after life. He said until now he's never had an operation or a broken a bone. So while it was a scary decision, it's one he's so glad he made.
He's expected to make a full recovery in 4 to 6 weeks.