Westfield man to receive kidney transplant from wife’s cousin | News


“I would do anything to see him get this kidney and I don’t know what I would do without you,” said Wanda Lafogg.

WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — A Westfield man has been battling stage 5 kidney disease for nearly three years. We spoke with Robert Lafogg and his wife, Wanda, back in January 2020 when they were hoping for a donor. Now, Robert is going to receive that lifesaving transplant.

“I would do anything to see him get this kidney and I don’t know what I would do without you,” said Wanda Lafogg.

Robert Lafogg’s wife, Wanda, spoke with Western Mass News in January 2020, desperately hoping someone would come forward to donate their kidney to her husband.

Now, nearly two years later, she’s breathing a sigh of relief.

“It’s like Christmas time, when you’re that little kid and you’re waiting for that special toy to come on Christmas morning,” Wanda Lafogg added.

Robert was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney disease in January 2019. A few people came forward to try to help, but bloodwork and tests showed they weren’t the right match.

“It’s been hard, the dialysis. I’ve watched a couple people pass away at dialysis. It’s been hard,” Robert Lafogg explained.

WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — One year ago this month, a Westfield man was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney disease.

Wanda Lafogg added, “I knew when he would come up those stairs what kind of a treatment he had. If he had an okay treatment…or a bad one. His face was a dead giveaway…It is such a struggle to watch your loved one, your spouse, go through such torment and there’s nothing you can do about it…Every day we wake up and I look at him and I say ‘Ooh he got through another day.”

Then Wanda’s cousin Melissa Dogonniuck made the decision to get tested.

“Even though I was from Pennsylvania and I didn’t know bob as well as I know my cousin, but I just felt this need to just go ahead and do it and by my faith, I went for it and did it and we were a perfect match immediately,” Dogonniuck said.

Sitting in their matching T-shirts, the two told Western Mass News that Tuesday, Robert will undergo his last dialysis treatment. Then the next morning, they’ll both undergo this lifesaving procedure.

“It’s only about two days or so recovery for me in the hospital and then I have another three to four weeks afterwards,” Dogonniuck explained.

As for Robert, he will be in the ICU for a couple days, then hopes to be home by the beginning of next week and will continue his recovery for six months afterwards, even quarantining thru the holidays, but Robert said it is so worth it.

“A little bit nervous about the operation, but excited. They say as soon as that kidney goes in, you’re like a different person,” Robert Lafogg said.

Melissa said how rewarding it will be to watch Robert be able to return to normal life.

“I think it’s just so exciting for me to see as his living donor to see him move on with his life and have that life with his children, his grandkids, and be there for them as they grow older and that’s part of my reward is to watch him live his life,” Dogonniuck added.

Now, her mission is to encourage others to become a donor of any kind, even inspiring her husband, Chris.

“I’ve recently began the process of signing up for our local area’s bone marrow registry and that’s only because of what this beautiful woman has decided to do,” said Chris Dogonniuck.

Wanda feels nothing but gratitude towards her cousin.

“I can’t even explain how wonderful and appreciative I am. She’s saving my husband’s life. My cousin is saving my husband’s life…She will always be my little angel,” said Wanda Lafogg.

If you’d like more information on how to become an organ donor, you can CLICK HERE.

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