BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – Sunday was a very special day for the Rufat family.
“My son Pierce, it just so happens to be his third birthday.” said Izzy Rufat, Pierce’s father.
There was cake, cookies and matching t-shirts for family and friends. Pierce Rufat’s parents say these first three years of life are worth every celebration.
“He has been a kidney transplant recipient since last December,” Rufat said. “It’s his first birthday post-transplant. It just so happens to be at the Kidney Walk today.
Dozens of people participated in the Walk for Kidney Health. A special day set aside for kidney recipients, donors, family and friends to come together to educate and support those around them.
“Yes, it’s the city of good neighbors,” Rufat said. “You know we’ve been through some dark times and I think the city of Buffalo and everybody here just comes together and supports.”
Peirce’s mother Valerie Rufat told 7 News there are some things in life you can’t plan for.
“When we heard the word transplant, we had no idea what it meant, how it would look for our family,” said Rufat. “I don’t think you know these things until you go through them.”
Rufat said she found out she was pregnant when she discovered her son would have a long medical journey ahead of him. She said Pierce started dialysis when he was just one month old.
“We had to travel to Pittsburgh so we could get his dad’s kidney.”
“The easiest decision was to donate a kidney to your son,” said Rufat.
Rufat said it was a really exciting day when he found out it was a match.
“As a father, to help your son, give him a better life and hopefully a long life with a good kidney,” said Rufat.
“Now we can’t even continue with it,” said Rufat. “He’s running around, he’s climbing on the playground, he’s swimming in the pool. He’s doing great.”
In a day filled with many more stories of loved ones losing their lives to kidney-related illnesses, the Rufat family is grateful to be able to celebrate more lives to come.
“Not everyone can donate just one kidney,” said Rufat. “It has to be a good game and in the away case, it was a perfect game. So we’re very grateful for that.”