In June, John Nucci celebrated his one year anniversary of receiving life-saving kidney transplant surgery. Since his surgery the former Boston City Councilor, Suffolk Clerk of Courts and current Suffolk University senior vice president and his entire family have made it their mission to find a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)–the disease that almost took Nucci’s life.
Last Sunday Nucci’s son, John, ran the Chicago Marathon to raise money and awareness about PKD, a disease he also inherited.
“Polycystic kidney disease has touched my entire family in an enormous — but sadly, all too familiar — way,” said John. “My grandfather passed away after battling the disease. He passed it down to my father, whose struggles with it are well chronicled. Many of you might have followed along with his story last year.”
John said his father dealt with the effects of PKD for decades, keeping himself in good health and doing everything he could to ward off its effects for as long as possible.
“In 2017, his doctor told him that the disease was progressing quickly, and that he would need a life-saving kidney transplant,” said John. “My brothers and I quickly stepped up to donate, at which point we learned that we had the disease as well.”
John’s father was diagnosed in his thirties. After the passing of his father following complications of PKD, 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. Luckily Revere’s Kerri Abrams stepped up after reading Nucci’s story in a local newspaper and donated her kidney.
Sadly, Nucci’s son John is living with the same knowledge that someday he’ll have to undergo the same life saving surgery unless a cure is found.
“Fortunately, after a tough process, my father got his kidney transplant from an incredibly kind stranger,” said John. “While he has recovered, it isn’t lost on any of us that he was amazingly lucky. The donor list is long, and too many don’t find a donor in time. As I said, my family’s situation is not unique. Over 12 million people worldwide deal with the effects of PKD, often passed down through generations. The PKD Foundation’s goal is to end this disease and find a cure, so that our family’s story will hopefully be a thing of the past.”
John said this was his first marathon, and he was almost certain he was going to need a nap on the sidewalk every two miles or so.
“But it’s nothing compared to what so many are going through while they wait for a transplant,” said John.
Both Nucci and his wife, Peggy, said they couldn’t be more proud of their son and were at the finish line when he crossed.