WESTBOROUGH – The children sat around Mrs. Claus as she read a selection of holiday stories at the Westborough Public Library.
The good Mrs. Claus, a.k.a. Westborough Public Library Director Maureen Amyot, knows the special gift of giving.
In late October, Amyot donated a kidney to a stranger.
“From my point of view, I would say that as a living donor nurse coordinator, altruistic donors like Maureen – who come forward to donate even though they don’t know someone in particular in need of kidney transplant – are what makes my job truly feel magical in certain moments,” said Natalie McGowan, a registered nurse and coordinator at Tufts Medical Center.
“She is a selfless, brave and kind person, and she helped us transplant two recipients,” added McGowan. “She helped a recipient with an incompatible living donor get transplanted. That incompatible living donor then donated to someone on our waitlist. Neither transplant would have been possible without Maureen.”
Amyot’s decision to donate a kidney started in August 2022 when she read a story about a Northborough resident, Jeff Serapiglia, needing a kidney.
“I saw his story in the paper and social media,” she said. “Everywhere I looked, I saw his story.”
In the story, which appeared in the Community Advocate, Serapiglia said he wanted to be around for his daughter. That made Amyot think about her relationship with her son, and a childhood friend who had end-stage liver disease.
That made her decide to donate a kidney.
“A lot of people come forward, but many don’t” end up on a donor list, she said, either because they don’t finish the paperwork for the screening, or they fail the screening itself.
Amyot went through the screening process at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She wished for her kidney to be donated to Serapiglia or “whoever needed it.”
“I wanted to do some good,” said Amyot.
The screening took place from October 2022 to May 2023; several tests had to be repeated before she was finally cleared in May.
In the meantime, she found out that a donor was found for Serapiglia, but another match was found via a “paired donation” program in which transplant candidates are matched with suitable living donors.
On Oct. 25, Amyot went to the kidney transplant center at Tufts in Boston and she underwent the procedure with another paired donation.
“The kidney started working immediately” for the recipient, said Amyot.
The procedure was paid by the recipient’s insurance company; Amyot said there are several nonprofits that can help with out-of-pocket costs like hotels and parking.
Amyot does not know the recipient, but she’s planning to meet the recipient at the six-month checkup.
She returned to work part time the first week of November and full time by the middle of the month. She said she felt tired when she first came back from work, but she said now she “feels great.”
“I was happy I was able to do this,” said Amyot. “I’ll be thinking of them for the next six months. The timing could not have been better with the holidays. There are two families that can enjoy the holidays.”
“We were lucky she found us at Tufts Medical Center as her team, and you are so lucky to have her as a community member,” said McGowan.