Mahoning Deputy will donate kidney to fellow deputy - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mahoning Deputy will donate kidney to fellow deputy

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

It's what is being called "A Christmas Miracle" at the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department.

That's because a 26 year deputy of the department who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant has found his match among his coworkers.

Doctors for John Marenkovic, II, also tell him the match was like hitting the lottery because of how quickly it came about, in less than three months.

As Deputy Marcella Walter entered the building and walked up the stairs she waved and then embraced her long-time friend John Marenkovic.

It's clear the two deputies now have an unbreakable bond.  That's because Walter has become Marenkovic's "Christmas Miracle."

"She was the first one to go to UPMC in Pittsburgh to get tested and she was a complete match, the first person.  Which is just unheard of," Marenkovic said.

You see Deputy Marenkovic only has 11% kidney function and would have been forced to go on dialysis very soon if he couldn't find a kidney donor.  

Instead, the two deputies are scheduled to undergo surgery this Tuesday where Walter a single mother of five will donate her kidney to her friend of ten years.

"The brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement we are family.  I didn't think twice.  I thought he's my friend.  He's my brother in blue.  He's my coworker, what can I do to help?  And I did present this to my children, they're mostly all adults at this point and they said okay mom.  I mean I've had support from everybody," Walter said.

Deputy Marenkovic tells 21 News that he found out when he was 18 years old that he has Polycystic Kidney Disease or PKD.  It is hereditary and Marenkovic says the gene is on his dad's side.

The 53 year old says three of his four sisters also have the disease and two have already had kidney transplants.  His twin sister is also going to need a kidney transplant.  Marenkovic has two children and currently his 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed with PKD.

The deputy knows how fortunate he is to have a donor, because a kidney transplant will not only prolong his life but give him a better quality of life to live and enjoy with his wife and two children.

Marenkovic says looking at his donor and fellow deputy, "It's a wonderful Christmas gift that it's happened and I'm thankful for it and her."

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