Son keeps kidney ready for father

Courtesy photo John M. Montano said giving his father a kidney is the least he can do after all his father has done for the family. The two are scheduled to undergo a transplant procedure in October.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

For the last few months, John M. Montano has been spending a lot of time at the doctor’s office — tests, needle pricks, CAT scans, countless pokes and prods — all to find out what he already suspected. He’s perfectly healthy.

But that wasn’t enough for Montano, who eliminated salt and dark sodas from his diet and cut back on sugar.

Living a life akin to that of his diabetic father, he said he wants the kidney he is giving the 65-year-old to be as close to perfect as possible.

“I figured if that’s what he’s got to do, I might as well do it too,” the 39-year-old said.

The two men, who share a name, a history of military service and consider themselves best-friends, will soon experience the ultimate bond when Oct. 29, doctors remove one of John M.’s good kidneys and partner it with John R.’s failing pair in an effort to save his life.

“I feel great. It’ll be like I’m getting a second chance,” John R. Montano said. “I’m real glad for my son, for what he’s doing. Me and John are real close and he would do whatever I needed from him and I would do the same for him.”

The summer of 2007, John R. learned his 20-year battle with Type 2 diabetes was a losing one. His kidneys were declining and it was just a matter of time until they failed completely.

They had two options; find a match in the family, the ideal solution, or go on an organ waiting list, hope for a timely match and then pray for success.

John M.’s stepmother, Robin Montano, approached him at a family gathering and explained his father’s need.

“We knew that John was the same blood type as his dad … he just didn’t even blink an eye. Those two have a very deep, deep bond. A very special bond,” she said.