Health

Lynn dad to receive kidney from daughter

LYNN – Bob “Moona” Mullins left his shift at the Fayette Street fire station on a March morning in 2009 and drove directly to Union Hospital. He had been feeling weak and fatigued for a few weeks and thought he might have a bad case of the flu.Either that, or kidney failure.Actually, the diagnosis was end stage renal disease, which means his kidneys were not functioning at a level needed for day-to-day life. Within an hour, Mullins was in surgery, a catheter was inserted in his chest and he was connected to a dialysis machine.Mullins has been on dialysis ever since. “No matter what I do, my day consists of being on that machine every day,” he said. “The machine basically runs your life.”Not for long.Mullins will arrive at Boston Medical Center at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, he will be wheeled into an operating room. In the next room, doctors will remove a kidney from a healthy, vibrant 32-year-old woman and transplant that kidney into Mullins.That woman is his daughter.Getting the green light Mullins was at a basketball game last December when his cell phone rang. He has spent all too much time in the stands the last few years watching the sport he loves instead of being on the court as one of the top collegiate officials in New England. The call was from Boston Medical Center and he heard the words he had been waiting for since he was first stricken: He was cleared for a kidney transplant.?I was ecstatic,” he said. “My goal from day one was to do whatever I had to do to get a transplant.”After more than 1,000 dialysis treatments, stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy, multiple blood transfusions, hundreds of injections and excruciatingly painful bone marrow biopsies, he would be placed on the national kidney transplant waiting list. And, he was free to try to get his own donor.The one and only It says something about the character of Mullins that 28 of his family and friends volunteered to get tested to see if they would be a match. As it turns out, 27 of them would not be needed.Mullins has two daughters: Jennifer Furlong and Courtney Mullins. Courtney and her sister were both willing to be donors, but because Furlong had gestational diabetes with all three of her pregnancies, she was immediately ruled out. Courtney did not hesitate.?As soon as they said he was ready to have people get tested, I called that day and got an appointment,” said Courtney, who has two daughters, ages 9 and 20 months. “There was no question I was going to get tested.”That first test revealed Courtney as a potential match, leading to a series of subsequent tests and procedures. Basically, it?s a process of elimination, and as soon as the potential donor does not “pass” one, he or she is ruled out. That never happened with Courtney, who on May 7 was cleared to donate a kidney to her father.?I was very happy and a little nervous at the same time,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I would be OK for my two girls, but I didn?t think twice about it. Mostly, I feel relief for my father and I think of the end result for him.”The selflessness of Courtney?s gesture is not lost on her family.?I?m very proud of Courtney for wanting to do this,” said her mother, Cindy Higgins, Mullins? ex-wife, with whom he maintains a strong friendship and who has been part of his support system since he became ill. “It?s very telling of the love she has for him. She wants a better quality of life for her dad.”?I would have done it in a heartbeat, but they wouldn?t even test me,” said Furlong, who drove her father back and forth to Boston Medical Center virtually every day in the summer of 2009 when he had to go to the hospital for 42 straight days to undergo an aggressive stem cell transplant treatment program to combat amyloidosis n a disease which causes excess proteins to be deposited in vital organs, causing serious damage. “It?s a blessing that Courtney is a match.”Return to normalcy You have to know Mullins, a 1971 Lynn English graduate, to appreciate how

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