Kenny Woodfield stands with Holly Gattow, who two weeks ago donated a kidney to the young man. P-J photo by Luke Anderson

Kenny Woodfield stands with Holly Gattow, who two weeks ago donated a kidney to the young man.
P-J photo by Luke Anderson

Kidney Donation Gives Area Man New Hope

by Luke Anderson

June 11, 2008

BEMUS POINT – A Bemus Point family is thanking a good friend and new unofficial family member after she made a life-saving gift to their son.

Kenny Woodfield discovered his kidneys were failing last August after going to the hospital for knee surgery. Since then, he had been undergoing dialysis while trying to find a donor who would be willing to give up a kidney to help him.

Two weeks ago, Woodfield underwent kidney transplant surgery. The donor was Holly Gattow, a family friend and fellow Bemus Point resident.

”I’ve known the Woodfields for a long time,” Ms. Gattow said. ”My kids went to school together with them.”

She said she attended a benefit for Woodfield, but didn’t think about the possibility of donating her own kidney until another potential donor failed to make it through the necessary tests.

Ms. Gattow said her children convinced her to go through the testing to see if she would be a suitable donor.

”I was worried about the discomfort, but my kids said, ‘what if it was one of us?”’ she said. ”So I went through the tests, and I matched perfectly.”

Now Ms. Gattow and Woodfield are recovering from the transplant surgery, both without apparent complications, although Woodfield will continue to be monitored for the next three months to ensure his body isn’t rejecting the kidney.

During that time he must take immune system suppressants that reduce the risk of rejection but leave him open to infection.

Nonetheless, Woodfield is upbeat about his chances and hopes to soon resume a more normal lifestyle.

For Ms. Gattow, losing a kidney meant gaining the gratitude of a very relieved family.

”She’s a member of the family now,” said John Woodfield, Kenny’s father.

Woodfield said he went to see Ms. Gattow after the operation and was floored by what she said to him.

”As long as I’m alive I won’t forget this,” Woodfield said. ”She put up both her arms, gave me a high five and said ‘we did it.”’

Ms. Gattow said she couldn’t believe how good she felt for what she had done.

”It couldn’t have worked out any better,” she said.

The Woodfields thanked Western New York Kidney Connection for their help throughout Kenny’s treatment.

More information on the organization is available at

As for Kenny, he is looking forward to getting back on the golf course, possibly as early as this fall.

”He wants to beat his old man,” John Woodfield said.