First Responders Spotlight: Nurse/EMT/firefighter donates kidney to help save mother’s life

First Responders Spotlight

SPENCERPORT, NY (WROC) — Jamie Giovannini’s day job is as a registered nurse at a juvenile detention center in Rush, she’s also a firefighter and EMT with the Churchville Fire Department. She’s been taking a few weeks off from her duties, though. She recently donated one of her kidneys. With her mother Janice in dangerous renal failure for months, Jamie knew she needed to do something.

“She started on dialysis last fall, we’d been looking for a kidney for awhile,” says Jamie.

Jamie and her mother are not a match, so Jamie had to give her kidney to a shared donor exchange program. “It’s like a national database where they find another pair of people and you kind of trade your kidney,” she says.

Mother Janice Giovannini got a new kidney through that program, and the surgeries/swaps took place last month.

Looking back, Janice says she could barely move when renal failure set in. She was on dialysis for ten months, driving to Batavia three times a week for three-hour treatments. 

“And it was really hard for me to sit in the chair for three hours, hooked up to a machine and watching my blood go in and out of me and go back in,” says Janice.

But with her new kidney, those days are over with. Both parents say Jamie is their hero. “I probably would have never have gotten a kidney if it wasn’t for Jamie,” adding that her act saved her life.

“Jamie’s always been a very giving person and very helpful to everybody. And she’s been a great daughter,” says father John Giovannini.

Janice says Jamie never does anything halfway. “She always goes above and beyond on everything she does.”

And like all first responders we highlight, Jamie plans to share the goodies from our sponsor at Dunkin with others. She says where she is career-wise is exactly where she wants to be. 

“It makes me feel really fulfilled to be part of something bigger than myself and be a part of the community,” says Jamie.  

And her service reach goes beyond that. If all this wasn’t enough, Jamie also volunteered in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City to help test, treat and contract trace coronavirus patients.

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