Renown Nurse Donates Kidney to Stranger to Save Son’s Life


Unable to find a kidney donor for her 8-year-old son, longtime Renown employee Jennifer Dado donated her own kidney to a stranger so her son could receive a match of his own. Jennifer and her husband Nhil Dado, also a Renown employee, share their journey.

A Community Rallies for One of its Own

A mother’s love, a young boy’s fighting spirit and a community’s unwavering support. Together, they tell the amazing story of 8-year-old Zack Dado.

Born to Renown employees Jennifer and Nhil Dado, newborn Zack was hemorrhaging at birth and needed to be resuscitated. His kidneys never recovered from the ordeal. The longtime employees were able to lean on their Renown colleagues for support as Zack’s condition worsened.

In October 2014, when Zack’s kidneys were close to failing, his parents began looking for a kidney donor match. Zack was put on a regional and national registry, which includes transplant donations from Renown Health’s donor network. Not being able to find a match among family and friends, Zack’s mom, Jennifer Dado, RN and supervisor of clinical nursing, decided to donate her kidney as part of a kidney paired donation, a transplant option for candidates who have a living donor who is medically able to donate but incompatible.

“You don’t know what you are doing and what a gift it means until you are there to do it,” Jennifer says. “So to know that you can actually give somebody the gift of life while you are alive, and be able to see it and know that you are helping someone out, is amazing.”

Support for Becoming a Kidney Donor

Close friends and others held a fundraiser last summer — Zack Attack — to help pay for living and other expenses while Zack and Jennifer underwent kidney surgery at UC Davis Medical Center on Sept. 14, 2015. Jennifer says it was difficult to be separated from Zack during the surgeries, but was grateful that Zack’s father, Supervisor of Facility Services Nhil Dado, was at their son’s side.

“From the day that Zack was born we have had overwhelming support. Just to see the community come through for us is amazing,” Jennifer says.