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The Gift Of Life

The Gift Of LifeFor two Tufts School of Medicine graduates, friendship has no limits.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.02.06] When he discovered that he was a match, Tufts University School of Medicine graduate Dr. Stephen Ranere didn’t have to think twice about his decision to donate a kidney to his longtime friend, fellow Tufts alumnus Dr. Donald Shushan. “It wasn’t even a question,” he told the Belmont Citizen-Herald. “It told me how much I care about Don.”

DentistThe roots of the doctors’ friendship trace back to the 1970s when the pair met in a class at Tufts School of Medicine. According to the newspaper, they had an instant connection -- one that would last for decades and later save Shushan’s life.

About six years ago, Shushan - who earned his undergraduate degree from Tufts in 1970 and medical degree in 1974 – learned that he had a kidney disorder. Over time, his condition deteriorated and doctors informed him last summer that a transplant or dialysis would be necessary, according to the newspaper.

"It was obvious I was sicker than I was admitting to myself," Shushan, who didn’t want to undergo dialysis, told the Citizen-Herald. “Not that dialysis is a [bad] thing," he said, "[but] it compromises your lifestyle so much. That wasn't a good alternative for me."

Instead, Shushan - a doctor at Belmont Medical Associates, the practice he founded with Ranere - opted to search for a donor.

“He asked his family members to be tested,” the newspaper reported. “All were disqualified, including his children, who were a match but too young to donate.”

The situation may have seemed grim to Shushan, but his colleague was busy behind the scenes undergoing medical tests to see if he could be a donor, the newspaper reported.

Shushan had no idea.

"I thought he was mad at me because he wasn't talking to me too much," he told the Citizen-Herald. "He was always leaving the office for some reason, but I didn't know what he was doing."

In late December, Shushan finally found out. Ranere was a match.

"With new anti-rejection drugs, totally unrelated members of the community could be tested and have a reasonable chance" to be a match, Ranere, who also earned his medical degree from Tufts School of Medicine in 1974, told the Citizen-Herald.

The operation took place in January and Ranere is already back to work. Shushan, with his new kidney, is still recovering – and he’s eternally grateful to his old medical school friend.

"It's impossible to say thank you in a way you think will convey the feeling," he told the newspaper. "It truly is a gift of life."



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