Since undergoing a lifesaving kidney transplant in June, East Boston’s John Nucci has been making it his life mission to raise awareness and money for the disease that could have ended his life.
“I feel great,” said Nucci. “I’m getting stronger day by day, walking every morning. Eating healthy and feeling blessed everyday.”
The former Boston City Councilor received a kidney transplant three months ago from Revere native Kerri Abrams, and is now back at work at Suffolk University where he serves as Senior Vice President.
During his long wait for a donor, Nucci said he dedicated his life to raising awareness and money for Polysystic Kidney Disease.
Last week in Brighton, Nucci and his family took part in the Walk for Polysystic Kidney Disease. Team Nucci’s goal is to raise $3,500 or more for research.
“Thanks to everyone who walked with the Nucci family today at the “Walk for PKD”,” said Nucci. “Polysystic Kidney Disease has no cure and we are committed to working to end it in our lifetimes. Thanks also to those of you who donated but could not attend. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Nucci, 66, suffers from Polycystic Kidney Disease, the same kidney disease that killed his dad at the age of 64. He and Abrams underwent the lifesaving kidney transplant surgery on June 19.
“My kidneys went from 12 percent down to two percent from February to June,” said an Nucci. “Kerri is just an amazing and brave woman. To read about my story, step up and undergo all the testing and agreeing to go through with donating her kidney to me after she found out she was a match is something that is so moving to me and my family.”
In his thirties, after the passing of his father following complications of Polycystic Kidney Disease, Nucci found out that he had inherited the same genetic disorder where the renal tubules become structurally abnormal, resulting in the development and growth of multiple cysts within the kidney.
The diagnosis was grim and for the last three decades, Nucci lived knowing that someday his kidneys would begin shutting down.
“I was tested in my 30s to find out if I had inherited the disease and I was told then that I did in fact have cysts on my kidneys,” said Nucci. “As these cysts form over the years your kidney function gets lower and lower. My doctors at MassGeneral have been watching it every year since I was in my 30s and in the past year my levels have been dropping fast. That’s the nature of this disease. Once you’re diagnosed you’re never at full kidney function but you can live at 30 percent kidney function for years. Once it drops down to about 15 percent is when they say ‘it’s time’.”
Abrams, who owns Kinship Florist in Revere, had a family connection to Nucci.
Thirty-five years ago Abrams’ parents, Kim and Al, were political supporters and friends of Nucci. At the time Nucci nor the Abrams could have ever guessed that Kim and Al’s daughter would donate her kidney to help save Nucci’s life nearly four decades later.
“I’m a very lucky man with great friends and a great hero named Kerri Abrams,” he said.
Nucci’s family all joined in on the walk as well as family friend Ed Coppinger.
“It was an honor to walk with the Nucci family during the Walk for PKD,” said Coppinger. “They truly are the best family ever.”