Andrew Sayasane (middle, holding child) surrounded by members of his Iowan community.

Winn's Pizza and Steakhouse / Facebook
Pizza News

Pizzaiolo’s Search For Kidney Donor Has a Happy Ending

The donor's willingness to "offer a piece of herself" means Andrew Sayasane gets a "second chance at life."

Andrew Sayasane, a beloved community member, business owner and new dad, recently found a kidney donor that may very well save his life. The donor turned out to be somebody he already knew: his friend’s fiance.

Sayasane, owner of Winn’s Pizza and Steakhouse in Indianola, Iowa, went public with his search for a kidney donation over the summer after learning he would require a life-saving transplant, reported KCCI-TV. At the time, Sayasane was regularly enduring up to five hours of dialysis each day due to his kidneys being “less than 7% effective.”

Sayasane’s donor, Lainie Fox, had her own journey to overcome. Fox told KCCI-TV that she had lost her father to kidney disease several years ago. At the time, she had tried to donate a kidney to him, but doctors said he was too sick for the donation to be effective.

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Fox learned of Sayasane’s need for a kidney through her fiance, Dennis, who happens to be Sayasane’s friend but was, unfortunately, not a match to donate one of his own kidneys. Fox found out she was a match and broke the news to Sayasane: He had a willing and able kidney donor.

In a heartfelt note on his restaurant’s Facebook page, Sayasane thanked Fox. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to my incredible kidney donor Lainie and her husband Dennis,” he wrote. “Your selflessness, compassion and willingness to offer a piece of yourself to me are nothing short of heroic. You have given me a second chance at life, a chance to dream, to aspire and to savor the simple joys that life has to offer.”

A note on Facebook from the owner of Winn's Pizza and Steakhouse in regard to a kidney donation he was to receive.
A note on Facebook from the owner of Winn’s Pizza and Steakhouse.

Sayasane went on to thank his wife, Jayme, and his family and friends for the outpouring of support they showed during his search for a kidney donor. Indeed, the community had rallied around Sayasane, going as far as posting a GoFundMe campaign that is currently sitting just shy of its $5,000 goal. In the description for the campaign, the organizers attested to the type of community member Sayasane is as a business owner and friend.

“Andrew has poured his heart and soul into Winn’s Pizza & Steakhouse, creating a place that has become a second home for many of us, a place where we’ve celebrated special occasions, made memories and shared countless meals with loved ones,” they wrote. “Now, as he confronts this daunting medical journey, we want to offer our unwavering support.”

The kidney donation is set to take place on December 4. For now, Sayasane can’t help but be grateful.

“This journey has taught me that the world is filled with remarkable people who possess incredible generosity of spirit,” Sayasane wrote in his Facebook post. “It has shown me that, even in the face of adversity, there is a profound sense of unity and compassion that can bind us together as a global community.”