Gary’s Story

You can’t always get what you want. I learned that from the Stones. They also said if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.


For two boys, I’m dad. To my wonderful life partner and best friend, I’m a husband. And for 46 years, I’ve been Dr. Greenberg, psychologist to so many who have let me fulfill my career goal: helping adolescents and families. I’ve watched patients go through ups and downs, helping when I can and listening, always listening. Unfortunately, I have been struck with circumstances that bring me here, hoping that you’ll take some time and be my listener just this once.

In 1978 I found out I had just one working kidney, and even that one was only functioning at 50 percent. With the help of a wonderful team of caring professionals, I was lucky enough to remain stable until 2003, and for the past ten years I’ve gone through ups and downs, including a virus, surgery, and overall decline in the little kidney function I had left.

I have now reached a point where another band-aid on a big problem just won’t cut it. Kidney failure is 3-6 months away. My best option is a “pre-emptive transplant,” a transplant prior to dialysis, and none of my immediate family are viable donors.  In the next twelve months, I need to find a living donor if I want to do the following things:

–          See my sons walk down the aisle.

–          Hold my grandchildren in my arms.

–          Continue to learn and grow with my patients.

Kidney donation is the most frequent type of living organ donation and also has the highest rate of success. It only takes a bit of paperwork and a quick blood sample on your end, some labwork for the doctors and a lot of hope from anyone and everyone.  My insurance is responsible for covering the medical costs associated with the living donor’s evaluation and the transplant. 

Download and send in the Potential Donor Questionnaire available online here.  After submitting it, call 312-695-0828 to reach Northwestern Memorial Hospital and schedule an appointment for a blood sample. If you live outside the Chicago area, please call and allow them to schedule a test at a hospital near you. 

It only takes 15 minutes of your life to start, and it could add years to mine.

You can’t always get what you want, but a kidney transplant is what I need. And I’m trying.


60 thoughts on “Gary’s Story

  1. Sarah Hillman

    Good luck in finding the live donor. Love Sarah Hilllman

  2. meryl (sister) wassner

    Dear Gary,

    My hope is that you will MORE THAN “Get by with a little help from your friends….” :o)
    Love, Meryl

    • Gary Greenberg

      It’s the Joe Cocker rendition of the song, since the powerful passion of his voice reminds me of the strength, love, and support I get from people like you.

      Love, Gary

  3. Rebecca Girvin-Argon

    Dear Gary,
    I am thinking so much about you guys and send XOXOX. I will forward this to many, and say lots of prayers. Hope to see you soon, Rebecca

    • Gary Greenberg

      I really appreciate your kind words, prayers , and help with our journey. We miss you guys and really hope to see you. Love, Gary

  4. Barbara Milsk

    I will most definitely forward this to my contacts and pray that a match will soon be found. ~Barbara Milsk

  5. Marcia Fox

    Gary, Love you and will be spreading the word around Wisconsin in hopes we can find a donor. If we do find one here, they may be a Packer fan 🙂

    • Gary Greenberg

      Love back and thanks so much, Marcia, for your support. I’m ready to wear a cheesehead at a drop of a kidney(or hat).

  6. Sandee Holleb

    Gary, sending my love and prayers to you and forwarding the BJBE letter to every person on my mailing list. Hang tough!

    • Gary Greenberg

      Thanks so much Sandee for your very kind wishes, prayers, and the actions you’re taking.
      Love, Gary

  7. Jill Jacobs

    It’s so sad to know you are in this position Gary. Your appeal is so genuine and heartfelt. I pray you will find a donor, or that other previously unknown options will become available to you. May your days be filled with joy and blessing. Hold steady as you move forward.

    • Gary Greenberg

      Thanks so much Jill for your very warm and supportive comments.
      Love, Gary

  8. Joan Haase

    Dear Gary, I told Janice Drell, & now, since it’s not confidential iinfo that she was passing on to me, I’ll tell you: my cousin faced a similar situation–no match. His wife donated her kidney anyway, using physicians at Johns Hopkins. I can try to have them contact you if you wish for more info. Regards, Joan Haase, 847-827-7453

    • Thanks Joan. So sorry to hear about your cousin’s situation. In this instance for a variety of medical reasons, none of Gary’s family can be viable donors, even with the medical miracles being performed that make some non-match situation work out. We’re going to hope and pray and believe that another donor will be able to step forward. Our hats off to the physicians at Johns Hopkins for their incredible work and creativity!

  9. Margot Andersen

    Gary, believe in the power of love and rely on your friends and family for strength. We will find the right kidney for you! With love, Margot

    • Gary Greenberg

      I do, I do, and I’m so grateful to you and the rest of my wonderful support system for all they do for me.
      Love, Gary

  10. Sandy Kane

    Gary-I did a MiSheirach for you on Fri. night at temple. I’m thinking and praying for you. Only the best should come your way. Love and regards to Marty Sandy Kane

    • Gary Greenberg

      Thanks so much Sandy. I’ll take all the prayers I can get. So nice hearing from you. Hope all is well.
      Love, Gary

  11. Sandee Holleb

    Gary, I’m hoping that each day brings you closer to finding the perfect match you did it before when you found Marti!

  12. Gary Greenberg

    You are so right! Thanks, again, Sandee.

  13. Marti Greenberg

    Hi. If there is anyone out their considering donating their kidney to Gary, please click on the Help Now tab of our website and download the Potential Living Donor Kidney Questionnaire. Complete it and send it to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. We spoke with our Transplant Team Coordinator today. She told us they have only received one completed questionnaire. There is urgency. Please act now. Thank you. Love, Marti

  14. Susan Myers

    Marti and Gary: Please request information from the physican I mentioned. He may have contacts that you have not explored. He is active in the Chabad Center in Wilmett and is often available through his office located in Skokie, IL
    With love to you all,
    Susan Myers and Robert Schaefer.

    • Marti Greenberg

      Hi Susan. Just so you know we did reach out to that physician you suggested. We are meeting with him on Thursday. We plan to leave no stone unturned! Thanks.

  15. Sandee Holleb

    Hi kids. Good to know that you are so proactive. Indeed leave no stone unturned and if you need help turning them I am available.

  16. Daniel

    Hi am daniel and am blood B alway willing to help

    • Gary Greenberg

      Daniel: Thanks so much for your willingness to help! The best action to take is to get in touch with the Northwestern Transplant Team at (312) 695- 0828, since they are the ones to decide if you are a donor candidate, if that’s what you’re thinking of. If you click “Help Now” on the top of this page, it will tell you more about this. I so appreciate whatever you do.

  17. Dear Gary:

    I hope the pre-transplant testing is going well for you.

    I grew up in HP, but moved to CA years ago. My whole family was impacted by polycystic kidney disease. I did in fact find my kidney donor through, having joined in Sept. of 2004, and receiving a transplant on March 2, 2005. I do think luck was involved, but I would not be here without reaching out through that Web site. My kidney donor is alive and well and living in CO.
    If you would like to speak with me, you are welcome to.

    • Gary Greenberg

      Shar: Thanks so much for your good thoughts and suggestion. We’;ve heard of and the wonderful work the’re doing . We’re definitely looking into this. I’m so happy to hear your great experience with them and the tremendous outcome. Best of health to you.

  18. Phillip

    I also used Matching Donors.It is a great organization.I strongly urge you to contact them.
    Also I would suggest you register at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.Very wonderful staff and much more user friendly than the people at Northwestern.Contact me at for any information or questions.I received a live kidney donation through the assistance of Froedtert Hospital in June,2011 and thank G-D I am doing very well with creatinine at 1.19.

    • Gary Greenberg

      So sorry to take so long to respond to you, but we just became aware of your message. How wonderful how you’re doing. We’re so happy to hear your progress. I have gone to Froedtert, and agree that the staff are great, very supportive. Am awaiting to hear if I’m accepted for their list, and hopeful that I will be. Will keep your Email for further contact. Our best wishes for continued good health.

  19. I hope and pray that someone will donate their kidney.. Good luck and try to stay strong and positive.

  20. Ted Yusen

    Gary, what is your blood type?

  21. Marti Greenberg

    Gary can accept blood type A or O

    Thank you for asking and caring.

  22. Sandee

    Still thinking of and praying for the best outcome for you guys. Somewhere there is someone!

  23. Marti Greenberg

    Thanks, Sandee. This is definitely a marathon not a sprint. Appreciate your continued support.

  24. meryl (sister) wassner

    A shout out to Marti’s beautiful post for Share Your Spare THURSDAY. In describing the support you and Gary have received from the BJBE Congregation Community, you have really hit the nail on the head. Community is about CARING, COMMITMENT, and COMPASSION. BJBE and the TEAM Gary group exemplify that. May all continue to grow from Strength to Strength !(in Hebrew that is Yasher Koach!!)

  25. hi gary it is very possible that you will not need a living donor, maybe please contact me for information. I tried sending you an email at, and it came back to me today undeliverable. my first name is Louis and my cell number is 1 773 987 8920 I am very serious

  26. hi marti Greenberg your email address came back to me saying failure it does not work there is a website that you need to check out it is called I do not know how bad your husbands kidneys are there are surgeons in America that do not use bone marrow but instead use your husbands fat for stem cell surgery.the surgery may take an hour to perform and can be done in a doctors office using liposuction and injecting the fat into the areas near the should regenerate the kidney cells.and because the stem cells come from the patient’s own body, there is no chance of rejection or disease transmission. they use a sterile closed system technology so the cells never come into contact with the environment. for another contact the Newport beach treatment center at 855 627 2820 or I have another option,but first try this louis

    • Hi Louis. Thank you for being so tenacious about getting this important information to us. We will look into it.

      Thank you so much!! Really appreciate your support.

  27. This site really has all the info I wanted about thuis suvject and didn’t know who to

  28. These three sources, Magnesium, Vitamin C and water, are strong fighters against your problem.
    Who should treat kidney stones with herbal remedies.

    Exercising has been shown to shift kidney stones in the organ which can greatly increase the chance of passing the stones.

  29. Len Jason

    Dear Gary and not the right blood type but will check if I know of others that are. Am praying for you.Lenny Jason

  30. Khadija

    Im ready to donate my kidney call me 00212636883790

  31. Thank you so much for your more than kind offer. The treatment I am getting has been keeping my remaining kidney reasonably stable, and the physicians are saying to hold off on the transplant at this time. I’m hoping to be able keep you in mind for possible future contact. I so appreciate your interest and support.

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