2 families give the gift of life

Two local families are celebrating a very special holiday this year.

The Tilsons, of Yonkers, and the Mullens, of Greenwich, Conn., were families who were both desperately in need of healthy kidneys.

Seven months ago, Vincent Tilson, a Yonkers detective, had extreme pain in his toe. After several tests at the hospital, doctors told him he was in kidney failure as a result of high blood pressure.

Tilson immediately had to go on dialysis three days a week and was put on a list for a kidney transplant, which could have been years away.

Luckily, Tilson's sister, Theresa Tilson-Tomaseli, of White Plains, immediately stepped up and offered to donate one of her kidneys. Tilson says there was one problem though; "She was not a direct match to me, but she was a match to someone else."

Amazingly, the Tilsons were put in touch with some complete strangers that had the same problem. "Apparently Michael Mullen, of Greenwich, and Michael's wife wasn't a match for him, but she was a match for me," says Tilson.

So the families agreed to a swap and on Dec. 13, the women each gave a kidney to a man they didn't know.

Tilson says their selfless acts are lessons for everyone. "Become a donor. Fill out that section on your license because we do need donors," he says.

Detective Tilson, his sister, Theresa, and the Mullens are all doing well after being released from the hospital.

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