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Lisa Porat looked at her phone as she sat in her car at a stop light and saw a request posted on her Silver Spring neighborhood Internet mailing list. “Needed,” it read, “Kidney for 41-year-old New York woman.”

57-year-old Porat, a mother of five and a lawyer, drove the car, and at the next light she quickly responded: — sometimes — and see if he matched.

So began her months-long process of donating a kidney to a stranger with the help of Chaya Lipschutz, who runs a website called KidneyMitzvah. Despite the Jewish credentials on his website, Lipschutz says he helps people of all races and religions. From her Brooklyn apartment, Lipschutz, a 65-year-old former secretary at a nonprofit organization, posts notices of kidney and liver patients who need new organs and the success stories of donors who have given.

He started his work in 2005 after donating a kidney to a stranger. With no staff or budget, Lipschutz uses Internet mailing lists and online groups to match donors and recipients. He has helped about 70 people navigate the donor and recipient process.

“People ask if I can give you a gift,” Lipschutz said when he was able to help. donors and recipients. “I say no, no, no. When the match passes, that’s my reward. This is the greatest happiness in the world.”

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While there are many organizations and people trying to help connect organ donors and recipients, those who worked with Lipschutz said she was unique. she charges no fees and brings great energy and a caring spirit.

“He’s enthusiastic and puts his heart into everything he does,” said Marian Charlton, clinical manager of a kidney transplant center in New Jersey who has worked with Lipschutz. “He approaches everything 100 percent, fully.”

Stewart M., a kidney transplant surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Greenstein says Lipschutz is “really passionate” about working with recipients and donors.

“He’s helping other people and he’s not making money off of it,” Greenstein said. “He’s doing it purely because he wants to help.”

Porat says he didn’t know anything about Lipschutz until he spotted Marianna Ilyasova’s post Silver Spring Borough Postal Directory.

Ilyasova, a college professor who also owns a tax services business, suffered from kidney failure for five years and underwent dialysis several times a week. At one point, his health deteriorated so much that he could barely urinate.

He had heard of Lipschutz through a friend and asked him to publish the message he had written. “I cry day and night and pray to God to show me what a day is like, feeling healthy. I’ve lost all my strength and can’t even walk without help.”

He went on to describe the many health complications of his kidney failure. “Dialysis removes all nutrients and minerals from the body,” he wrote. “More and more critical every day. I don’t want to die! Please help me!»

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Porat read the message. It was his birthday and her closest childhood friend had recently a new one the kidney. Porat said he plans to donate to a local kosher food bank in honor of his birthday and in gratitude for his friend’s transplant. But when he read Ilyasova’s request, he thought: “I can’t ignore it.”

He and Ilyasova spent months testing to see if they matched. They underwent transplant surgery in October. After the procedure, they met in person for the first time in the hospital. and Ilyasova cried.

“He saved my life. I thought I was going to die. I was trying to look for a donor and I was dependent on the idea that one day I want to get married, become a mother and see my children,” said Ilyasova. “He helped me save that dream. He is my angel on earth.”

Both are doing well after surgery.

Porat hopes her tale will encourage others to become kidney donors.

“If I have my power to save my life, how can you turn away?” he said. “I couldn’t do it. He is someone’s child. … She’s a woman, and she’s a member of the Jewish community, and we have to look out for each other.”


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