NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 21, 2016, 5:24 AM
Tim and Christina McCabe embrace on the front stoop of their Queens home, excited about the freedom Tim’s new kidney offers their family.
Tim McCabe had three kidneys in his body and none of them worked.
The father of two from Queens had been searching for a kidney donor since 2012 and was starting to lose hope as his health deteriorated.
“I was existing, not living,” said McCabe, 45, who struggled with various autoimmune diseases since he was a teen. “It was hard.”
The call he was waiting for came in February. There was a kidney available, and tests showed he was a match.
One month after his surgery, McCabe is excited to have some of his energy back and be free of his home dialysis machine.
He is hoping his story — told during National Kidney Awareness Month — will spark others to sign up for organ donations.
“I just want people to know they can help save somebody’s life,” said McCabe, a former highway inspector with the city Department of Transportation. “So many people out there need a transplant.”
McCabe’s health issues started when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis as a teenager.
His first kidney transplant came in 2004 when his wife, Christina, gave him the lifesaving gift.
And for almost 10 years he was able to work and help take care of their two sons, Timmy, 15, and Ryan, 6. But the kidney started to fail, and the McCabe family began the agonizing wait for a donor.
The Daily News first wrote about McCabe’s search for a donor in November 2014.
The couple and their sons, 15-year-old Timmy and 6-year-old Ryan, will be taking an adventurous vacation to Key West, Fla., this summer.
“This time around it felt different,” said Christina McCabe, 44, recalling a sense of helplessness as her husband’s health declined.
Their hopes faded as two potential donated kidneys turned out not to be viable.
“He was so sick and I really didn’t think he was going to make it,” Christina McCabe said. “When that call came (for the kidney match), it really was like a miracle.”
The family is determined to spread the word about the importance of organ donation and to encourage families to have the discussions early.
“It’s not fair to a family to be grieving and have to decide about whether to donate organs,” Christina McCabe said.
The McCabes also started a team to participate in the Long Island Kidney Walk in May.
Tim has a way to go with his recovery, but the family is excitedly making vacation plans for the first time in years.
He and Timmy are planning a trip to see a Notre Dame football game, and the whole family will travel to Key West, Fla., for a niece’s wedding this summer.
“And we are renting Jet Skis!” McCabe added.
For more information about organ donation, go to Donate Llife.