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Doctors hope NYPD sergeant’s selfless kidney donation will inspire more living donors

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NEW YORK – An NYPD sergeant was a hero to his brother by donating him a kidney earlier this year and now, the hospital where the operation was performed wants New Yorkers to know they, too, can be heroes.

Arthur O’Connell has a strong bond with his younger brother, Sgt. David O’Connell. And it goes beyond brotherhood and friendship. David O’Connell gave his brother, now 63, the gift of life in the form of a donated kidney.

“To see him healthy, it's worth all the money in the world,” David O’Connell said.

The sergeant’s brother lost kidney function in November 2014 and struggled with dialysis, pain and worry. Then David O’Connell stepped in.

As a member of the force for 21 years, he was used to saving lives on the streets – but this time it’s personal.

The operations was performed at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., where PIX11 News was given an exclusive tour Thursday. They performed 301 kidney transplants last year, with 150 of them coming from living donors, like David.

Dr. Stuart Geffner and his team performed both the donor and recipient operations with the brothers. Geffner wants you to know you can save a life, too.

“We have a lot of people who have two healthy kidneys come in and know no one who needs a kidney and says I would like to donate,” he said.

At that hospital along, there are 1,000 patients waiting for a kidney and several thousands more in our area standing by for a healthy organ that will change their life.

To learn how you could become a living donor, click here.