Joe's Story

Between brothers

Living Kidney Donation Offers a New Life
After seeking a second opinion on his kidney failure at Aurora St. Luke’s, Joe Bartolotta got a second chance at life. Joe shares why he considers his brother-in-law a real-life “angel.”

"Jamie’s my angel. He saved my life."

When Joe Bartolotta’s kidneys began to fail, his doctors told him transplant surgery wasn’t an option. He had lived with diabetes and weight problems for years. Now, they warned, he’d have to start dialysis.

Joe knew there had to be another way, so he sought a second opinion from Aurora Health Care. Joe’s cardiologist and the team at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center agreed – there was a better way.

They worked with Joe on a plan to get his weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control so that having a living-kidney-donor transplant could become a reality. 

With hard work and support from his Aurora team, Joe lost 70 pounds. That’s when Jamie Shiparski, his brother-in-law and business partner in The Bartolotta Restaurants, stepped forward. 

As luck would have it, Jamie shared Joe’s blood type. And in February 2013, Aurora surgeons successfully completed a living kidney donor transplant.

The experience gave both restaurateurs a new appreciation for the old saying that family and friends are life’s best seasoning.

“Jamie’s my angel,” says Joe. “He saved my life.”

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