LITTLE FALLS, NJ – Nick Sauter is back home after receiving a kidney from a local hero.
TAPinto Passaic Valley has been following Sauter’s story since 2017. At that time, he was already receiving dialysis treatments three times a week. His condition took a detour when a blood infection traveled to his 21 year old knee replacement requiring additional surgery and delaying his chance for a transplant operation.
Always the coach and motivator of a positive outcome, his sister-in-law Donna Tissot said, “Nick tries to stay positive through his good and bad days.” For those who are dependent on dialysis, life is grim and challenging and time is of the essence to find a healthy living kidney donor in order to go through transplantation."
Tissot served as Sauter’s cheerleader and champion, telling Sauter’s story to anyone who would listen, and working tirelessly to spread the word to all avenues of media with the hopes of finding a living donor.
Little Falls resident Robert J. Connizzo, a 34-year-old with a resume full of heroic feats, stepped up. After going through testing, he donated one of his kidneys to Sauter. The surgery was on Feb. 14.
When Connizzo was a Cub Scout, he and a friend were invovled in a jet-ski accident. His friend was injured. Cannizzo was later awared with a lifesaving award in 1995. A Passaic Valley High School graduate of 2003, he served as a volunteer member of the Little Falls Fire Department from 2001 to 2010.
Connizzo was instrumental in saving his father’s life in a diving accident in Dutch Springs Quarry, in 2001 The 2003 graduate of Passaic Valley High School, graduated EMT school at the Public Safety Academy in Wayne in 2005. There he received an outstanding Achievement Award from the 200 Club for the highest class score. From there, he attened Passaic County Community College where he graduated with an associate’s degree in applied science in fire science and criminal justice. Connizzo is presently employed at Feldman Brothers Electrical Supply Company.
Througout the journey, Sauter and his family have been very thankful for the outpouring of love and support during the search for a donor. That sense of gratitude is sure to continue and inspire others.
The former vice principal, athletic director, teacher, football and track coach at Passaic Valley High School is an active member of St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Little Falls and played a role in the church’s food pantry for many years.
Based on the their background, and dedication to serve others, it is a fairly certain bet that both Nick Sauter and Robert Connizzo will appear in many more headlines about their service to others.
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